How to fund environmentally-focused projects - AcrossLimits - Your EU Project Technology Partner

How to fund environmentally-focused projects

The European Union has repeatedly affirmed its commitment towards safeguarding the wellbeing of our planet, setting several ambitious targets in the European Green Deal to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and to combat the worsening biodiversity crisis being faced worldwide. Several funding channels exist to facilitate this green transition, ensuring professionals and stakeholders across Europe have access to funding to organise and implement projects to help achieve these environmental goals. Whether you are a conservation specialist working to protect endangered species and habitats, an investment firm developing a new green finance solution, an R&D company testing out a new renewable energy technology, or a public authority striving to meet national or regional climate targets, it is very likely that an appropriate funding channel is available to support you in implementing projects in your respective environmentally-focused domain.

Introducing the LIFE Programme

LIFE is a long established programme, running since 1992, and is the EU’s foremost funding programme dedicated exclusively towards environment, nature conservation and climate action. Currently, LIFE is organised by CINEA (the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency). For the funding programme framework of 2021-2027, LIFE was approved for a total budget of €5.43 billion, with €611 million being allocated to the budget for the year 2023.

31 new calls under the LIFE programme have recently been opened, with deadlines of each varying between September and November of 2023. These calls are primarily split across four sub-programmes, each with a respective focus area as follows:

  1. Nature and Biodiversity
  2. Circular Economy and Quality of Life
  3. Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
  4. Clean Energy Transition

A number of different types of grants are available under LIFE, cutting across each of the four domains. Standard Action Projects (SAPs) are the most common types of grants available, funding a wide variety of projects that address the priority areas of the four sub-programmes as well as specific EU policies stipulated in the work programme. Strategic Nature Projects (SNaPs) and Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) support projects that implement specific regional or national environmental strategies or action plans developed by Member States. Other types of funds are also available, including grants for Projects for addressing ad hoc Legislative and Policy priorities (PLPs).

It is worth noting that the LIFE programme also offers grants for Technical Assistance for Preparation of Proposals (TA-PP) which offers applicants up to €70,000 in funding for seeking external assistance or consultation in the writing of a SNAP or SIP proposal. Here at AcrossLimits we can offer such support. You can read more about the services we offer here.

Other funding programmes

While the LIFE programme is the only funding programme exclusively focused on the environment, environmentally-focused projects or other green ideas can be funded under a variety of other programmes. These include but are not limited to:

  • Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s primary funding programme for research and innovation activities, with a very significant budget of €95.5 billion. With relation to environmentally-focused projects, Horizon Europe funds several research and innovation actions as well as coordination and support actions related to climate science and responses, as well as ocean science. These calls are generally focused on undertaking new research which goes beyond the existing state-of-the-art and leads to the development of new solutions with key impacts in these areas. Check out our recent article on this funding programme here.

  • Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

The CEF funding instrument is focused on prompting jobs, creating jobs, and stimulating competitiveness through infrastructure investment at the European level. Two of the three sub-programmes of CEF have environmental sustainability as a central focus area. CEF Energy supports sustainable energy infrastructure projects, whereas CEF Transport supports projects centred around the construction or upgrading of sustainable transport infrastructure.

  • Erasmus+

Erasmus+ is one of the EU’s more well-known programmes. While it is limited to projects having an educational scope, the calls under this programme allow for a wide variety of projects to be funded, and so proposals can be creative in applying with environmentally-focused projects that have an educational outcome. For example, projects enhancing training opportunities, providing capacity-building activities, or bridging academia and industry within environmental fields may find a home under this programme. One opportunity of note is the Alliances for Innovation call which is organised annually, and funds relatively large projects that focus on bringing together private enterprises and educational institutions to create new educational channels.

Navigating opportunities and where to start

This list is by no means an exhaustive list of opportunities available for environmentally-focused projects. There are several other programmes and funding instruments that may fund or support the implementation of your project, such as the European Regional Development Fund which in collaboration with the administrative agencies of respective Member States, co-finances projects promoting greener and social economic growth. Furthermore, several cascade funding calls are continuously made available across European member states and beyond, providing financial support to third parties through decentralised funds that target specific objectives.

Navigating this vast ocean of European opportunities is a challenge, and finding the right funding call for your project is just the first step of the journey. The bigger challenge is crafting the perfect proposal that will meet all the requirements of the call and sufficiently address the expectations of the evaluators to get your project funded. When applying for EU grants, experience matters

Here at AcrossLimits we have over 22 years of experience in funding procurement, with participation in over 80 successful EU projects to date. We have a dedicated team of experts from a broad range of sectors that can guide proposal writing and help you apply for EU funds. Furthermore, we are well connected with industry, academia and public authorities across Europe and beyond, making sure that we can bring together the perfect consortium for your project.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you make your project idea a reality, contact us at: [email protected].


Alexander Camilleri
Project Officer at AcrossLimits