Acceptance of proposals in the field of environmental protection will begin on May 17 and end in mid-November.
The European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure and the Environment (CINEA) has officially confirmed the start of procedures under the LIFE program for 2022. The acceptance of projects in the field of environmental protection will start on May 17 and end in mid-November. LIFE is one of the European Union’s main financial instruments for environmental and climate action. Since 1992, the program has contributed significantly to the implementation, updating and development of European policy and legislation by providing grants for the implementation of over 4,500 projects.
The two key strands in the previous programming period – Environment and Climate Action – are now separated into four sub-programmes with their budget, thus providing greater and more concentrated support for businesses and the public sector.
The total budget of the program has been increased by 60% compared to the previous period, in the context of the transition to climate neutrality and the achievement of the goals set in the European Green Deal. About 3.5 billion euros have been earmarked for environmental initiatives and 1.9 billion euros for climate actions.
Some of the most important specifics of LIFE in the current programming period:
Although traditionally perceived as a tool for the implementation of initiatives for the public benefit by public bodies, non-governmental organizations, universities, etc., LIFE places an analogous focus on the so-called close-to-market projects that focus on the business and its green products, technologies, services and processes intended for the market. The solutions that are supported should have a relatively high degree of technological – for example, validated in a simulated environment – and business maturity, so that within the project or soon after its completion, they can be implemented on an industrial or commercial scale.
It is important to note that the proposed actions can be both innovative – ideas and solutions that are new compared to the state-of-the-art technologies at the level of a member state and/or sector, as well as established in practice (best practice), i.e. technologically up-to-date solutions, techniques, methods and approaches with proven effectiveness. At the same time, special attention is paid to the potential of the developed technology to be upgraded, applied in similar conditions and contexts (“replication”) and/or other industries (“transfer”).
Who can apply?
Legal entities (public and private) without category limitation (including startups and big enterprises), associations, international organisations, etc. Beneficiaries should have the operational, technical and financial capacity to adequately meet the needs and requirements arising from the implementation of the project. You can apply alone or in partnership. Any cooperation, especially international and intercross-disciplinary, is promoted to strengthen the links between Member States, businesses and industries in the European Union.
Grant and eligible costs
Eligible costs under the project include staff remuneration, purchase of equipment, materials and supplies, external services, travel costs, indirect costs, etc. The grant is up to 60% of the project budget, which varies according to the different sub-programmes, but is on average between 2 and 4 million euros per project.
Deadline for submitting project proposals
The deadline for applications is October 4, 2022, except for the “Transition to Clean Energy” call, whose deadline is November 16, 2022. Submission of projects is done electronically through the European Commission portal.
Prospects and challenges
Interest in the program continues to grow, and Bulgarian companies are increasingly prepared to meet the specific requirements, as evidenced by the considerable number of approved projects over the past few years.
However, certain restrictive trends and challenges persist in low awareness, insufficient information resources in Bulgarian, lack of experience about the direct application (i.e. not to the relevant ministry, but directly to the European Commission and/or the adjacent agencies), the unused potential for interaction with support structures, including the National Contact Unit (NCU), responsible for the implementation and promotion of the LIFE program at the national level, etc.