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The LIFE programme 2021-2027 is the only EU funding programme entirely dedicated to environmental, climate and energy objectives. It contributes to the shift towards a clean, circular, energy efficient, climate-neutral and climate-resilient economy, including through the transition to clean energy, to protect and improve the quality of the environment. To date, LIFE has co-financed more than 5,000 projects.

In terms of specific objectives, the programme seeks to develop, demonstrate and promote innovative techniques, methods and approaches to reach EU environmental and climate goals. It also supports the development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement of relevant Union legislation and policy, including by improving governance at all levels. Moreover, the programme aims to act as a catalyst for the large-scale deployment of successful technical and policy-related solutions by integrating related objectives into other policies and into public and private sector practices, by mobilising investment and by improving access to finance.

The LIFE programme 2021-2027 is divided into the following four sub-programmes

The Clean Energy Transition sub-programme is a new component of the LIFE programme, which was previously included in Horizon 2020. It is of particular relevance to hydrogen related projects (see details section).

The LIFE programme may be combined with other sources of EU funding for example: [node:32073:link]{InvestEU as Link} investment support instrument to de-risk big projects; [node:32068:link]{Horizon Europe as Link} to help bring such new technological solutions across the 'valley of death' and to the market. However, LIFE programme funding must not overlap with funding from other EU programmes. Applicants must inform the European Commission in their project proposal about any related funding that they have received from the EU budget as well as any ongoing applications for funding from the EU budget.

What type of hydrogen related actions can be funded

LIFE would be available to fund hydrogen-related projects. Financial allocation is addressed to actions aiming at clean energy transition, development of best practices, coordination and capacity building; support to the implementation of climate plans developed at regional, multiregional and national levels.

LIFE sub-programme clean energy transition is based around the following areas of intervention: building a national, regional and local policy framework supporting the clean energy transition; accelerating technology roll-out, digitalisation, new services and business models and enhancement of the related professional skills on the market; attracting private finance for sustainable energy; supporting the development of local and regional investment projects; and involving and empowering citizens in the clean energy transition.

The programme is suited to demonstration projects and governance projects, as well as projects by acting as a catalyst for large-scale deployments of technical and policy solutions. On the other hand, LIFE is not meant to support large infrastructure construction.

Funding for research is generally excluded, with the exception of limited research activities that improve the knowledge and data underpinning the project, which could have been justified by explaining how the proper implementation of the project relies on those research activities, showing that the existing scientific basis was insufficient, and how the additional knowledge would be used to implement the project actions.

In addition, to support to public authorities, NGOs, universities and institutes, the LIFE programme helps companies bring their green products, technologies, services and processes to market. These so-called ‘close-to-market’ projects launch innovative, demonstrative solutions that offer clear environmental and/or climate benefits. Examples could be in climate change mitigation, waste management, the circular economy, resource efficiency. These projects also have a high level of technical and business readiness. This means that solutions could be implemented in close-to-market conditions (at industrial or commercial scale) during the course of the project or shortly after its completion.

The climate mitigation and adaptation sub-programme supports pilot, demonstration, and best practice projects that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and to increase resilience to climate change. This sub-programme also promotes integrated approaches to implement EU climate change mitigation and adaptation plans and strategies at national and regional level.

Check the work programme and the project priority topics on the webpage of CINEA.


Financing details

LIFE has a total financial envelope of €5.43 billion (in current prices) for the period 2021-2027, with €1.94 billion reserved for the field of climate action. The climate action field, which is the relevant financial envelope for hydrogen-related projects, is subdivided into €947 million for the sub-programme 'Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation’, and €997 million for the sub-programme 'Clean Energy Transition'.

The types of hydrogen projects that can apply for LIFE Programme grants are:

  • Standard Action Projects: projects, other than strategic integrated projects, strategic nature projects or technical assistance projects, that pursue the specific objectives of the LIFE programme.
  • Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP): projects that implement, on a regional, multi-regional, national or transnational scale, climate strategies or action plans developed by EU country authorities, while ensuring that stakeholders are involved and promoting coordination with and mobilisation of at least one other Union, national or private funding source.
  • Technical Assistance Projects: projects that support the development of capacity for participation in other types of LIFE programme projects, as well as for the preparation for accessing other Union financial instruments or other measures necessary for preparing the upscaling or replication of results from other projects funded by the LIFE programme or its predecessor. These projects can also include capacity-building related to the activities of EU country authorities for effective participation in the LIFE programme.
  • Other Action Grants: actions needed for the purpose of achieving the general objective of the LIFE programme, including coordination and support actions aimed at capacity-building, at dissemination of information and of knowledge, and at awareness-raising to support the transition to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.
  • Operating Grants: grants that support the functioning of non-profit making entities which are involved in the development, implementation and enforcement of Union legislation and policy, and which are primarily active in the area of the environment or climate action, including energy transition, in line with the objectives of the LIFE programme.

Conditions for application

The conditions and legal basis are set out in the LIFE multiannual work programme 2021-2024.

Calls for proposals are published at LIFE - Calls for proposals ( While the regulation sets the general principles of awarding criteria, the specific award criteria are included in the LIFE multiannual work programme. The first multiannual work programme runs from 2021 to 2024, the second until 2027. These work programmes set out the activities for each sub-programme, the types of projects as well as the indicative timetables for calls for proposals, the selection procedure and award criteria for the submission of projects.

How to apply and when

The latest information on the publication dates of the calls for proposals is published on the LIFE website under ‘calls for proposals’.

All LIFE calls for proposals will be published on the European Commission’s Funding and Tenders portal, which also contains all relevant information on the legislation and rules for participation, templates for proposals and project reporting.

Award criteria

The LIFE programme is open to any public or private legal entity registered in the EU that can submit a proposal under the LIFE programme. As noted above, the general conditions of the LIFE regulation state that quality should be the general criterion for awarding projects under the LIFE programme.

Payment modalities

See information about the types of grants available

Specific websites

LIFE Programme (European Commission)

LIFE - Calls for proposals

Calls for proposals in Environment and Climate Action

National contact points

Past history of the LIFE programme Environment - LIFE: About LIFE (

Example (s) of selected projects

Some projects have come up with cutting-edge technologies, while others have focused on developing consumer products. Yet they all have one thing in common: delivering innovative solutions for improving Europe’s environment, climate, economy and society.

Examples of finalised close-to-market LIFE projects (

LIFE 3.0 - LIFE Project Public Page (

Project title: 'Zero Emission LIFE IP - LIFEalps' - Zero Emissions Services for a Decarbonised Alpine Economy

Description: In 2011, South Tyrol established an interdisciplinary strategy ‘Climate Plan South Tyrol’, which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of each resident from 4.9 t/a in 2008 to 4 t/a by 2020 and 1.5 t/a by 2050. The mobility sector causes approximately 47% of total CO2 emissions in South Tyrol. Serving this strategy, the Integrated Project LIFEalps will catalyse the development of a fully zero emission road transport and mobility system in South Tyrol, along the Brenner corridor (a main European traffic axis) and in the nearby regions. The results of the project will be 30% of purchases of clean passenger cars, vans, motorcycles and trucks by 2026 and 100% of buses by 2025. In total 10% of the vehicle fleet within South Tyrol will be zero emission by 2026, equalling 15% reduction in traffic-based CO2 emissions due to the focus on heavy-duty services like buses and trucks. In addition to the IP budget of €19.3 million itself, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of €43,755,816 (from EU Funds, national and private funds).

EU contribution: €7,927,070

Level of EU funding: 60% of eligible costs

Link to project: LIFEalps

Database of examples

LIFE public database