13 December 2016 | General
COST will reinforce support for researchers in Inclusiveness Target Countries
Encouraged by the success of COST in providing a career springboard for researchers from less research-intensive countries, the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) has launched a series of new measures to benefit
Last November, at its 199th meeting in Malta, the CSO made a clear commitment to encourage researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries, which face the greatest obstacles to research and innovation because of unequal access to knowledge infrastructures, funding, and resources.
Now the CSO is setting a mandatory minimum number of ITC participants, as part of new measures to ensure a stronger involvement of ITC researchers at the proposal stage of a COST Action. In addition, ITC researchers will be invited to take a leading position in the management of an Action.
The COST Scientific Committee, which makes the selection between equally ranked proposals, will now be able to favour proposals with the highest potential to attract ITC researchers. The measures also strengthen the role of national COST coordinators and include a new conference grant to allow researchers from ITC to participate in international conferences. On the financial side, reimbursement procedures will be simplified. Finally, a mentoring scheme will be launched.
The COST General Assembly approved the new measures which are designed to leverage the programme’s full potential and to maximise its contribution to the Horizon 2020 ‘Widening Pillar’.
COST, through its Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy, has a longstanding commitment to providing opportunities for researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries.
In 2015, over one-third of researchers participating in the COST programme were from Inclusiveness Target Countries. By comparison, in the European Research Area, only about 18% of participants are from ITC (calculated on a Full-Time-Equivalent basis).
The new measures, which will be implemented in 2017, were recommended by a task force, established by the CSO in summer 2016. Along with representatives from the CSO and COST Association, the task force included major stakeholders such the COST Scientific Committee and EU Commission, which funds the COST programme under H2020.
Further details concerning the concrete implementation of these measures will be provided before the next collection date, in September 2017.