COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology – originated in 1971 as the first European intergovernmental framework for the coordination of nationally or regionally funded research.
Starting from a limited number of participating countries and scientific domains, COST has developed into an agency with 36 member states and 1 cooperation state.
COST plays an important role in the development of the European research area. COST's mission is to strengthen Europe in scientific and technological research through the support of European cooperation and interaction between European researchers.
COST offers financing for the coordination of pan-European research networks (COST actions). The actual research is financed via other (national or regional) channels.
The main features of COST are:
bottom-up approach: European researchers determine themselves the idea and topic of a COST action;
inclusiveness and equal access: participation is open to all COST member states;
flexible structure: simple implementation and management of networking initiatives;
commitment to participate in capacity building by linking up high quality scientific networks across Europe and worldwide;
particular attention to offering networking opportunities to young researchers;
increasing the impact of research on policy makers, regulatory authorities and national policy makers as well as the private sector.
COST is financed with specific budget lines from the EU Framework Programmes. At present, COST supports some 300 ongoing actions and reaches out to more than 30,000 researchers across Europe.
A COST action is a network of research partners from at least five different COST member states who work together to organise workshops, make arrangements, etc.
The actions run on average for a period of four years and are based on a work programme.
COST provides an average of 130,000 euro per year for networking, depending on the available budget and the number of participating countries. A COST action on average consists of 20 participating countries.
COST finances the costs for the setting up of network activities (meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops) and the organisation of other activities (scientific exchanges of short duration, training schools, publications and dissemination activities). The actual research is financed via other (national or regional) channels.
A COST action can be initiated if at least 5 COST member states have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). MoU is a sort of 'gentlemen's agreement' in which the participating countries subscribe to the action goals.
An overview of recently approved COST actions is given below: Clicking through will take you to the COST website where you can find an overview of all actions in the selected domain. At present, there are some 300 COST actions in progress, with on average 20 participating countries per action.
The COST actions are situated in nine specific scientific domains:
- Biomedical and Molecular Biosciences (BMBS)
- Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies (CMST)
- Earth System Science and Environmental Management (ESSEM)
- Food and Agriculture (FA)
- Forests, their Products and Services (FPS)
- Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health (ISCH)
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
- Materials, Physics and Nanosciences (MPNS)
- Transport and Urban Development (TUD)
In addition to these specific scientific domains, there is a domain for multidisciplinary proposals:
COST Member States
The COST Member States are:
- Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel (cooperation state), Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, United Kingdom, Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Sweden and Switzerland.
Non-COST countries are also welcome to participate in a COST action. COST is not limited to Europe only and also encourages worldwide cooperation.