COST is governed by the COST Member States. This section gives an overview of the entire COST structure. The organisation of COST reflects its intergovernmental nature.
COST Ministerial Conferences
Key decisions are taken at COST Ministerial Conferences, which are held on average every five years. The latest COST Ministerial Conference took place on 15 June 2010 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Committee of Senior Officials (CSO)
The Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) is the main decision-making body responsible for the strategic development of COST. It decides, amongst other things, on the proposed new Actions following the Open Call.
The role of a CSO member is to
- Liaise with the ministries and offices of his/her country
- Liaise with the COST Office and the COST Secretariat
A CSO member may have a country-specific portfolio of information or support measures.
COST National Coordinator (CNC)
The role of the COST National Coordinator (CNC) is to
- Nominate delegates to Domain Committees (DC) and Management Committees (MC)
- Advise on all COST related matters (e.g. Actions, participation, Open Call)
- Provide the liaison between the scientists and institutions in his/her country
A CNC may have a country-specific portfolio of information or support measures.
Executive Group of the CSO (JAF)
The Executive Group of the CSO, referred to as JAF, prepares the CSO meetings and some every day decisions delegated by the CSO. The group consists of the President and the Vice-President of the CSO as well as five other delegates from the CSO chosen to represent different COST countries for a maximum duration of three years.
Domain Committee (DC)
Domain Committees (DC) consist of experts from the respective domain and are nominated by the CNC. The DC reports to the CSO and is responsible for the quality control of the allocated Actions (assessment, monitoring, evaluation). The DC also supervises the strategic development of their respective domains.
Additional experts can be announced per domain and COST country. These experts form a “pool of expertise” that can be used in an ad hoc manner, e.g. for assessments.
The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union provides the secretariat for the CSO and the Executive Group of the CSO.
The COST Office in Brussels is provided by the European Science Foundation (ESF) – the implementing agent for COST. It supports the scientific activities, e.g. the DCs and Actions’ activities, and implements CSO decisions.