What is COST

COST – European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research – is one of the longest-running European instruments supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe. COST is also the first and widest European intergovernmental network for coordination of nationally funded research activities.

COST mission is to strengthen Europe in scientific and technical research through the support of European cooperation and interaction between European Researchers. It also aims to maximise European Synergy and added value in non-competitive and pre-normative research. COST has 34 member countries and enables scientists to collaborate in a wide spectrum of activities grouped under nine key scientific Domains.

COST Mission

Founded in 1971, COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, allowing the co-ordination of nationally funded research on a European level. COST Actions cover basic and pre-competitive research as well as activities of public utility.

The goal of COST is to ensure that Europe holds a strong position in the field of scientific and technical research for peaceful purposes, by increasing European cooperation and interaction in this field.

COST has clearly shown its strength in non-competitive research, in pre-normative cooperation and in solving environmental and cross-border problems and problems of public utility. It has been successfully used to maximise European synergy and added value in research cooperation and it is a useful tool to further European integration.

Ease of access for institutions from non-member countries also makes COST a very interesting and successful tool for tackling topics of a truly global nature.

COST Characteristics

The member countries participate on a “à la carte” principle, in that only countries interested in the Action participate. Activities are launched following a “bottom-up” approach, meaning that the initiative of launching a COST Action comes from the European researchers themselves. COST benefits from a flexible structure, allowing for an easy implementation and light management of the research initiatives.

COST has a geographical scope beyond the EU and welcomes the participation of interested institutions from non-COST member states without any geographical restriction.
As a precursor of advanced multidisciplinary research, COST plays a very important role in the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). It anticipates and complements the activities of the EU Framework Programmes, constituting a “bridge” towards the scientific communities of emerging countries. It also increases the mobility of researchers across Europe and fosters the establishment of scientific excellence in nine key domains:

• Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences
• Food and Agriculture
• Forests, their Products and Services
• Materials, Physical and Nanosciences
• Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies
• Earth System Science and Environmental Management
• Information and Communication Technologies
• Transport and Urban Development
• Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health

COST has developed into one of the largest frameworks for research cooperation in Europe and is a valuable mechanism coordinating national research activities in Europe. COST contributes to reduce fragmentation in research investments in Europe and to open the European Research Area to the cooperation on a world basis.

COST Actions

COST Actions are new, innovative, and interdisciplinary scientific networks of nationally funded research teams of at least five COST countries. They cover basic and pre-competitive research for peaceful purposes as well as activities of public utility, as part of the Lisbon objectives.

They also contribute to the scientific, economic, cultural or societal development of Europe, by supporting networking activities such as meetings, conferences, short term scientific exchanges and outreach activities. COST does not fund the research in itself.

The duration of an Action is generally 4 years. The increasing number of COST Actions reflects the success of COST within the European Scientific Community.

More information in the official COST Webpage