The new LIFE Multiannual Work Programme 2018-2020 brings some novelties, including the two-stage process of submitting project applications in the LIFE sub-programme for Environment.

The European Commission has adopted the new LIFE Multiannual Work Programme (MAWP) for the period 2018-2020. This brings some novelties, mainly related to the simplification of application process, simplification of reporting, reducing the number of project themes, additional focus on projects with sustainable, replicable and transferable results and with measurable effects, promotion of additional involvement of private entities, etc. Some of the novelties are listed below; more you can read in the MAWP itself:

 1.  No more national allocations

The new MAWP eliminates national allocations. This means that LIFE funds will be allocated to most quality projects regardless the member state in which the applicant is based. This is very welcome information for Slovene applicants, since Slovenia used all available allocations with 2016 Call. Consequently some of our projects did not receive funding, despite receiving a high number of points.

2.  Introduction of a two-stage application for the LIFE Environment sub-programme

The new approach will facilitate work and reduce the “financial input” of future applicants. By submitting the concept at the first stage they will have the option to “test” their ideas. Based on the first stage evaluation result they will know whether their proposal has a chance to be financed. Applicants whose concepts will be successful at the first stage will be able to submit the entire project proposal. By reducing requirements at the first stage of the LIFE application process, it increases the possibilities for financing the project ideas of newcomers and rationalizes the administrative steps for all investors. With 2018 Call the two-stage application process will be applied and tested on the LIFE Environment sub-programme. For the LIFE Climate Action sub-programme, the submission procedure remains unchanged.

The concept will consist of only 10 pages, which is little compared to more demanding project proposals, which have already consisted of more than 200 pages over the past few years. The concept not will have to be submitted in English. The following information will be required: basic information on the coordinating beneficiary (now A2 / A3 form), description of project content, including the description of the main environmental problem addressed by the project, the foreseen partnership (now form B1, B2, B3), project risks and constrains along with a mitigation strategy (now B5 forms), selected strategies to ensure the sustainability of the project results (now the B6 form) and the indicative project budget breakdown.

All concept notes will be evaluated based on two award criteria:

  • overall quality of the proposal and
  • Overall EU added value (focused on the project contribution to the LIFE priorities, its expected impact, and the sustainability of the project results).

The applicants of concept notes with highest score will be invited to submitted full project proposal at stage 2. More information on award criteria is available in MAWP and news on LIFE programme’s website.

Indicative timetable

April 2018 2018 LIFE Call publication
12 June 2018 (tbc) Deadline for applicants to submit concept notes
October 2018 (tbc) Notification to the applicants, shortlisted applicants invited to submit full proposal
January 2019 (tbc) Deadline to submit full proposals
January 2019 to June 2019 (tbc) Evaluation and revision of the proposals
July 2019 (tbc) Signature of individual grant agreements
15 June 2019 (tbc) Earliest possible starting date (sub-programme for Climate Action)
1 July 2019 (tbc) Earliest possible starting date (sub-programme for Environment)

Please, consider that exact dates and guidelines for applicants along with evaluation guide will be published with the Call in mid-April.

3. A 10% increased budget for LIFE nature and biodiversity

This increase follows the key actions outlined in the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy, which should be developed by 2019 in order to halt the loss of biodiversity in the EU. The delegated regulation adopted on 16 November 2017 determines that at least 60.5% of the budget allocated to the LIFE sub-program for Environment will now be used for protection of European natural capital. The increase corresponds to approx. EUR 60 million in additional funding for projects and measures to conserve nature and biodiversity.

4. Reducing the number of project topics on LIFE Environment sub-programme

The total number of project topics in the LIFE Environment sub-programme has decreased from 87 to 42. The content is aggregated and more transparent – so you can still submit proposals from all areas.

The MAWP 2018-2020 helps LIFE align its funding priorities with recent policy developments. It introduces improved targeting of applicants to EU policy priorities while increasing the potential of projects in certain subsections, such as biodiversity, the circular economy, as well as projects with a major and direct impact on the health of most European citizens.