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EU LIFE Useful Resources

Here you'll find a comprehensive list of the most essential documents and links to help you prepare for and develop an application for a LIFE project.


JNCC Guidance and Templates


European Commission Web Resources


Central to all projects within each sub-programme:

LIFE Nature:

LIFE Biodiversity:

LIFE Environment and Resource Efficiency:

LIFE Climate Action:

LIFE Climate Mitigation:

LIFE Climate Adaptation:

LIFE Climate Governance and Information:


LIFE Glossary of Terms





When specifically agreed in the grant agreement, a 'parent company' or an 'association' (incl. European Economic Interest Groups), beneficiary in the project, can involve designated 'affiliates' or 'members' to carry out work in the project under the same conditions and by respecting the same rules as the beneficiary.

AfterLIFE plan

The AfterLIFE plan sets out how the actions initiated in the LIFE project will be continued and developed once the LIFE project has ended.

A separate sub-action to develop this plan should be added to the proposal and the plan must be added to the list of deliverables. This sub-action generally falls within the Project Management Work Plan. Although this detailed plan can be developed during the project you will need to show that it has been given due consideration within the application, see sustainability.

Associated Beneficiary

  • Project Partner
  • Must be responsible for implementing at least one action
  • Must contribute financially to the project
  • Must be a legal entity but can be registered outside of the EU; sole traders are not considered eligible to participate as a beneficiary.





Best practice project

This project type puts into place appropriate, cost effective, state of the art techniques taking into account the specific context of the project. This project type is only possible for LIFE Nature & Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation / Mitigation priority areas. 





Coordinating Beneficiary

  • Project lead and is responsible for implementing the project
  • Is the single point of contact with the Commission / monitoring body. Receives the EU financial contribution and distributes this to partners as specified in the Partnership Agreement
  • Is financially responsible
  • Must financially contribute to project
  • Must be a legal entity registered in the EU.


Only contributes to the project with financial resources and has no technical responsibilities for delivery. Co-financers cannot benefit from the EU financial contribution and they cannot act as sub-contractors.

These can be listed as 'to be confirmed' within the application but need to be in place before the Grant Agreement is signed.

Examples include: water and utility companies & insurers.

Co-financing rate

During the first LIFE multiannual work programme for 2014–2017, the maximum EU co-financing rate for "traditional" LIFE projects was 60% of the total eligible project costs. However, Nature & Biodiversity projects which focus on Priority features (as listed in the Birds and Habitats Directives) can attract a higher co-financing rate of 75%.






The results from the completion of part or the entire project. Examples of deliverables include: reports, studies, prototypes, business plans, training sessions, etc.

Demonstrative project

Demonstrative projects put into practice / test/ evaluate and disseminate actions, methodologies or approaches which are new or unknown in the specific context of the project, such as the geographical, ecological or socio-economic context, and could be applied elsewhere on a larger scale. This project type is possible for all LIFE strands except Governance and Information.


Depreciation is limited to a maximum of 25% of the actual cost for infrastructure and a maximum of 50% of the actual cost for equipment. Exceptions include:

  • for prototypes, the eligible costs are equal to the actual cost of the goods; or
  • for LIFE Nature and Biodiversity projects, the cost of durable goods purchased by beneficiaries that are public bodies or private non-commercial organisations shall be considered eligible at 100%, if the organisation complies with all conditions set under Article II.19.2 (c) of the grant agreement (i.e. if the goods were intrinsically connected with the implementation of the project and used to a significant degree within its duration and will be assigned to nature conservation activities beyond the end of the project).

Double financing (double funding)

No organisation can receive EU funds for the same activity twice. Within the application beneficiaries must inform the Commission about any related EU funding, as well as any related ongoing applications for funding from the EU budget. Applicants will need to show how actions are different and there is no double-financing. The Commission will also carry out their own checks.





EU added value

Your project should clearly indicate its EU added value, for example:

  • makes a significant contribution to the priorities of the LIFE sub-programme;
  • the environmental benefits should be clear, substantial, ambitious and credible;
  • improves the integration of specific environmental objectives in other policy areas;
  • creates synergies with other Union policies and contribute to economic and social objectives; and
  • be transferable, replicable and sustainable to deliver the long-term return on the EU’s investment in your project.


You will also need to demonstrate a wide understanding of current EU thinking and the current EU issues under debate and key documents being produced and therefore your project will contribute to the updating and development of legislation / EU policy as well as to the implementation of the European Union environmental legislation.

In general the project proposal will need to demonstrate that it is relevant to issues elsewhere in Europe, and that the problem the project is solving is apparent elsewhere.  This will enable the lessons learned to be more widely applicable to other countries in the EU.


Projects are evaluated according to seven Award Criteria, which can be found in the LIFE Guide for the Evaluation for each LIFE Sub-programme. Each LIFE project is scored out of 100 points, with a minimum pass mark of 55 points. Please note the criteria are slightly different between the two sub-programmes and that the actual pass mark for project funding for the environment strand is significantly higher).

External assistance

Sub-contracting costs: i.e. services / works carried out by external companies or persons, but also covers the renting of equipment. This is limited to 35% of the total budget, if you go over this you will need good justification as to why within the proposal (i.e. it is a specialist skill set which needs to be outsourced).

Examples include the creation of a logo, creation of a dissemination plan, design of dissemination products, publication of a book or renting of material.





Green procurement

Green procurement is the purchase of goods, services and works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their lifecycle. The Commission is looking for projects which have a clear delivery mechanism for the application of green procurement concepts. This should be demonstrated by all partners and contractors and is worth 1 point at the evaluation phase (Award Criterion 7).





'In Kind' contribution 

Goods or services which are to be provided 'in kind' (i.e. for which there is no cash flow foreseen), are ineligible for EU co-financing and should not be included in the project's budget (i.e. you would not be able to claim for volunteer's time).

Salaries are not considered 'in kind' as there is a financial cost (i.e. salaries are paid and therefore a payment for the time is made).


LIFE projects can generate an income / revenue. This could be generated by selling a product, which is the core of a project, or by charging fees to third parties to attend conferences or training events. Revenue can contribute to the project's match funding so therefore could cover any or all of the eligible costs. Any revenue generated by the project needs to be recorded and must be reported to the Commission at the latest in the final financial report.

It is important to note that you are not allowed to make a profit during the lifetime of the LIFE project – if you do you may have to repay part of the grant, but this will be decided on a case by case basis by the Commission. A profit can be made after the project has ended and this is encouraged by the Commission.


Projects dedicated to the construction of large infrastructure do not fall within the scope of the LIFE Programme and therefore are not eligible. A project is considered to be dedicated to the construction of large infrastructure if the cost of a 'single item of infrastructure' exceeds 500,000 Euros. A 'single item of infrastructure' means all elements physically bound to ensure the functionality of the infrastructure investment (e.g. for an eco-duct the bridge, barriers, signposting, etc.). In exceptional circumstances such an amount may be exceeded upon agreement with the Commission.


You will need to show how your project builds on work/lessons learned from previous projects/pieces of work. Innovative actions will need to be evaluated during the lifetime of the project.

Check the LIFE Project Database to ensure that your work hasn't been funded before and to establish how your work could build upon previous projects/work.






This is the completion of a key deliverable [see above] and is an important way to ensure that the project is on track.





Pilot project

Pilot projects apply new techniques or methods that have not been applied/tested before and offer environmental and climatic advantages over current best practice and can subsequently be applied on a larger scale to similar situations.

This project type is possible for all LIFE strands except Governance and Information.


A prototype is infrastructure (worth <€500k) and/or equipment specifically created for the implementation of the project, which has never been commercialised and is not available as a serial product. Prototypes may not be used for commercial purposes during the life of the project.






Replicability, along with transferability and sustainability are core components of LIFE projects and will need to be included in your project actions.  Your application will need to demonstrate how the project's results and experiences can be replicated and disseminated (or applicable) beyond the project, into other sectors, entities, regions or countries. Please note: a conference at the end of the workshop is not sufficient to show this, the Commission expect more knowledge exchange (workshops, site visits etc.) during the project lifetime.

Revision phase

During the revision phase, the Commission may ask the applicant to provide further details about particular aspects of the proposal and/or to introduce modifications or improvements to the original proposal.  The coordinating beneficiary may also be asked to delete certain actions and/or to reduce the project budget, the EU financial contribution and/or the EU co-financing rate to the project. The applicant will frequently have very short time scale to respond to the questions.





Sole trader

Entities owned and run by one individual and where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business are considered natural persons and are therefore not eligible to participate as beneficiary or an affiliate within the LIFE programme.

State of the art

The highest level of general development of a product, technique or method incorporating the newest ideas and features.


A named sub-contractor is not typically listed in the proposal, as this needs to be procured through open and transparent tendering in line with EU process. Your proposal needs to justify why sub-contracting is necessary for implementation of the project. Advisory limits apply, as noted in the external assistance section.


LIFE projects are a large investment from the Commission and they want to see long-term sustainability of project actions. This needs to be firmly embedded into the proposal.

You will need to ensure that your actions are secured, maintained and developed after the project with pre-identified resources. This will be carried out within the AfterLIFE plan, but you will need to show due consideration within the Application.






The project needs to have the potential to be transferred across the EU during and after its implementation.  Proposals require a strategy including tasks to multiply the impacts of the projects' solutions and mobilise a wider uptake, reaching a critical mass during the project and/or in a short- and medium-term perspective after the end of the LIFE project.

This goes beyond transfer of knowledge and networking, and involves putting the techniques, methods or strategies developed or applied in the project into practice elsewhere.


The Guidelines say that ‘transnational’ projects are favoured where the proposal has proved that the need for such an approach is essential for the success of the project. In respect to LIFE funding, projects are only considered trans-national if implementing core actions within another EU Member State.  Activities outside of the European Union and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) are not considered as trans-national. While activities outside the Union or in OCTs are possible under LIFE Regulation they will not entail up to three additional points during the evaluation phase.






Volunteers’ time cannot be considered as a contribution to match funding as there is no cash transaction. However, the use of volunteers is encouraged in LIFE projects, alongside citizen science, see in kind contribution above.





2% rule (also known as the 102% rule)

The sum of the public bodies' contributions (as coordinating beneficiary and/or associated beneficiary) to the project budget must exceed (by at least 2%) the sum of the salary costs charged to the project for personnel who are not considered 'additional'. Temporary staff recruited specifically for the project are considered ‘additional’ and excluded from this rule.

Each public body must respect the 2% rule individually as well as collectively. Pooling of resources of the multiple public bodies to meet the 2% rule requirement is also not allowed. 


Please contact us at if there are additional words that you wish to be included within the glossary.





Published: .

The Transition Period following the UK’s exit from the European Union ended on 31 December 2020. However, UK organisations are eligible to bid within the 2020 LIFE Call – the deadline for applicants to submit full project proposals is February 2021. UK NGOs are also eligible for the 2020 LIFE Call for NGOs on EU’s Green Deal – submissions are due by 31 March 2021. JNCC will therefore continue to be the UK National Focal Point for EU LIFE funding until the end of March 2021.

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