How COST works
COST funds pan-European, bottom-up networks of scientists and researchers across all science and technology fields. These networks, called 'COST Actions', promote international coordination of nationally-funded research.
COST does not fund research itself, but provides support for networking activities carried out within COST Actions. COST Actions are bottom-up science and technology networks open to researchers and stakeholders, with a four-year duration and a minimum participation of five COST Countries.
COST Actions are active through a range of networking tools, such as meetings, workshops, conferences, training schools, short-term scientific missions (STSMs) and dissemination activities. COST Actions are open to researchers from universities, public and private research institutions, as well as to NGOs, industry and SMEs. To learn more about participating in COST Actions, please visit the Participate page.
COST invites researchers throughout Europe to submit proposals for COST Actions through a continuous Open Call. The two collection dates a year are announced in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the COST Website. Following a thorough evaluation and selection process, the decision for funding a proposal is taken by the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) within eight months from the collection date. Successful proposals are approved to become COST Actions and can expect to ‘kick-off’ within three months thereafter. For more information on how to submit a proposal for a COST Action, please visit the Open Call page.
Proposals for COST Actions can be submitted in one of the COST Scientific Domains. Highly interdisciplinary proposals that cover several scientific Domains can be submitted through the COST Trans-Domain (TD) Pilot.
Researchers can also apply to join an existing COST Action.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provides the formal basis for COST Action. The proposal for a new Action must fulfill certain formal and qualitative criteria, and if the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) approves the MoU, the COST countries wishing to take part in the Action can agree to it. A COST Action is launched when at least five COST member states have agreed the MoU and starts with the first Management Committee meeting of the Action. It runs for an average of four years.
COST Actions are open to international cooperation, by also allowing the participation of researchers from Near Neighbour Countries and International Partner Countries on the basis of mutual benefit. In addition, COST has signed Reciprocal Agreements with Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa as a pilot exercise to facilitate cooperation with researchers from these countries.