Frequently Asked Questions


show all | hide all

What is COST?

COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology – 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.

What does COST do?

COST’s 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 enables scientists to collaborate in a wide spectrum of activities.

What does COST fund?

COST provides financial support for cooperation efforts of scientific groups across Europe and the coordination of these research networks called “Actions”. The support will cover the costs of networking activities such as meetings (e.g. travel, subsistence, local organiser support), conferences, workshops, short-term scientific exchanges, training schools, publications and dissemination activities. COST does not fund the research itself.

Where does COST get its budget from?

Short answer: From the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and, previously, from the  7th Framework Programme .
In more detail: The Council Decision of 19 December 2006 concerning the Specific Programme "Cooperation" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013) (2006/971/EC) sets aside a minimum of EUR 210 million in Annex II.

On COST Actions

show all | hide all

How can I propose a COST Action?

Only the institutions of the 36 COST countries can propose an Action. For this:

How can I join an Action?

I/ For institutions of the 36 COST Countries:

a) If your country has already accepted the Action's Memorandum of Understanding, but has not yet nominated its representatives:

  • contact your COST National Coordinator (CNC) who can officially nominate you as a representative of your country to the MC committee.
  • It is also recommended that you inform the Chair of the Action of your interest.

b) If your country has not yet accepted the Action's Memorandum of Understanding:

  • Contact your COST National Coordinator (CNC) who will launch your country's participation in the relevant Action (only possible if national funding for the Actions’ activity is available). Once done, the CNC can officially nominate you as a representative of your country to the MC committee. It is also recommended that you inform the Chair of the Action of your interest.

II/ For institutions of non-COST Countries

COST encourages institutions from non-COST countries to participate in COST Actions following the bottom-up principle and if the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) believes it to be of mutual benefit. The CSO approves on a case-by-case basis.

In general, researchers from non-COST countries institutions do not receive economic support from COST.

For the near neighbour countries up to two researchers from each country may be reimbursed for attending COST Actions meetings. Moreover, researchers from these countries are eligible to participate in other activities decided at the level of individual Actions (such as meetings, short-term scientific missions, training schools and conferences).

In addition, COST set up reciprocal agreements with New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina. The financial contribution provided by COST for a European scientist travelling to such a country is a fixed grant of up to EUR 3 000 per visit for New Zealand and up to EUR 2 500 for Argentina and South Africa.

Where can I find the contact details of the National Coordinators?

You will find all coordinators on National Coordinator section of the Who's Who . If you are looking for the Coordinator of a particular country, you may find the country pages useful as well. You just select the country of your choice and find all the information including a map.

There is no National Coordinator in my country, who do I contact?

Contact the COST Action Chair of the Action. You can search Actions in the Actions database .

How can I become Member of a working group of an Action?

Contact the Chair of the Action (directly or via a colleague from the Action or via the COST Office) and obtain the invitation to participate in the suitable COST working group.

How can I participate as an “invited expert” to specific events of an Action (meetings of the MC, WG, workshop participation etc.)?

Contact the Chair of the Action (directly, via a colleague from the Action or via the COST Office) and obtain the invitation to participate in a specific event of the Action.

On COST Experts

show all | hide all

I am interested in providing my expertise to COST. Where can I find more information?

COST is currently establishing a country, gender and age-balanced expert pool and invites independent experts from all scientific areas to express their interest. More information is available on the COST Experts page where you can find the link to the Expert registration page as well.

How much time does a COST Expert need to devote to COST?

COST Experts are contacted on an ad hoc basis depending on the evaluations being coordinated by the COST Office at any given time. Experts will be able to accept or decline each individual offer to collaborate. As a consequence, how much time a COST Expert devotes to COST depends on the tasks accepted by the Expert.

The most frequent task is the evaluation of proposals for new COST Actions. COST runs two Open Call per year with deadlines at the end of March and at the end of September. Each Proposal takes about two to three hours to evaluate and, in general, an Expert will be asked to evaluate one to two proposals remotely. As part of the proposal evaluation, an Expert may also be invited to an Expert Evaluation Panel, which is a meeting that lasts two days and takes place in Brussels. Experts who collaborate with COST for the first time will need to read the guidelines governing the evaluation and assessment processes.

In addition, Experts may be contacted to take part in COST Action Final Assessment Panels, which may involve travel and typically one to two 2 days onsite. In these cases, the COST Office will provide further details when proposing the task.

What is the difference between COST Domain Committee (DC) Experts and COST Experts?

Both COST DC Experts and COST Experts support the COST Domain Committees in their evaluation tasks, by providing specific expertise that may not be present among Domain Committee Members. COST DC Experts are nominated by the COST National Coordinators .

COST Experts register directly on the COST Expert database .

Within the new TDP Pilot Action Selection procedure , COST Experts also carry out the evaluation needed for the first step and may be contacted to support the subsequent steps should their expertise be required in evaluation panels.

About e-COST

show all | hide all

What is e-COST?

e-COST is COST’s online technology platform. Mainly targeting the scientific community, it consists of several modules that serve different purposes depending on the user's assigned access rights. Registered users log in and have access to - for example - the online travel reimbursement tool, the expert database, the COST Grant Management System or the modules related to COST Action Monitoring and Reporting.  

When do I need a login? How do I create one?

You need an e-COST user profile if you are asked to create one by COST Office staff or if you need to be reimbursed by COST. To register as a new e-COST user, click the e-COST button on the top right hand side of this page, scroll down to 'New to e-COST?' and click 'Register a new e-COST profile'. Note: You do not need an e-COST profile if you wish to apply for the Open Call which has a separate online tool.

How do I file a travel reimbursement request? I attended a COST (Action) meeting and was asked to encode my expenses related to travel and accommodation. How do I go about this?

Your question relates to the submission of what we call the Online Travel Reimbursement Request (OTRR). The first step is to create an e-COST user profile if you do not already have one. The second step is to log in and fill in the OTRR online . The form does give you some guidance on how to fill it in.

In addition, on 10 April 2014, the COST Office updated the Travel Reimbursement Instructions  Memo, a step-by-step guide for COST Action members. You can download the document to get acquainted with the system.

In March 2014, e-COST launched its  Strong Authentication Feature , enabling you to submit the OTRR together with all related scanned documents online. This feature ensures for a paperless, user-friendly system

About this site

show all | hide all

What do the .vcs and .ics files on your events pages mean?

They are both calendar file types that allow you to store the event in your Calendar (e.g. iCal (.ics) for Mac or vCalendar (.vcs) in Outlook 2010 for Windows). Both files contain the same information. Please note that you may have to update the calendar information manually. This depends on the software you use. For example, we are aware of a Microsoft Office bug in Outlook 2003 that requires you to adjust the .vcs file slightly once uploaded.

How can I navigate the site quickly?

You can use any of the buttons on the home page, the search function in the top right corner of this screen or the Sitemap .

If you know COST well, you may find the following redirects useful too:

  • (replace bmbs with the other Domain abbreviations (cmst, essem, fa, fps, isch, ict, mpns, tud) as needed)

What are cookies? How does your website use them? How can I opt out or manage cookies?

A cookie is a small text file which is sent to your computer or mobile device (referred to in this policy as a "device”) by the web server so that the website can remember some information about your browsing activity on the website.

The cookie will collect information relating to your use of our site, the URL of the linking page and if you arrived at our site via a link from a third party site. It also collects information about your device such as the device’s Internet Protocol (IP) address and browser type and demographic data. If you are a registered user or subscriber it may also collect your name and e-mail address, which may be transferred to data processors for registered user or subscriber verification purposes.

Cookies record information about your online preferences and help us to tailor the COST Website to your interests. Information provided by cookies can help us to analyse your use of our site and help us to provide you with a better user experience.

Cookies are either ‘ session ’ or ‘ persistent ’ cookies, depending on how long they are stored for:

  • Session cookies are only stored for the duration of your visit to a website and are deleted from your device when you close your browser;      
  • Persistent cookies are saved on your device for a fixed period of time after the browser has closed and are activated each time you visit the website where the cookie was generated.

How the COST website uses cookies

We use two different kinds of cookies on the COST Website to ensure that we give you the best user experience possible.

  1. First party cookies : these are our own cookies, controlled by the COST Website and used to provide information about usage of the site.
  2. Third party cookies : these are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site which are controlled by them. We use Google Analytics as a means to measure users’ behaviour to better develop the COST Website. By using web analytics services provided by Google Analytics we can analyse which pages are viewed and how long for and which links are followed, and we can use this information to provide more content which is of interest.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • enabling a service to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same information several times during one task
  • enabling a service to allow you to 'pin' articles you find of interest onto your own virtual pin board on the COST site
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and that there is enough capacity to ensure that they are fast

How to opt out

If you would prefer to opt out of cookies, it is possible to control cookies by following the steps below. You may lose some of the features and functionality of the website mentioned above if you do so.
Cookies, including those which have already been set, can be deleted from your hard drive. You can also change the preferences/settings in your web browser to control cookies.
Deleting or blocking cookies may reduce functionality of the site.

To learn more about how to reject cookies, go to the help menu within your internet browser. If you experience any problems having deleted cookies, you should contact the supplier of your web browser.
To opt out of analytical performance cookies please visit this site:

To find about more about cookies, this website is quite useful as well.

How does the recommend button work?

If you want to recommend a specific page of the COST website, you visit the page of your choice and click the recommend button in the top right corner of your screen. Just fill in the form that appears and click send.
You can only send the link to one page per recommendation.

How does the pin button work?

If you wish to store a specific page of the COST website to read later, you visit the page of your choice and click the pin button in the top right corner of your screen. Then press 'pin this page' in the middle of the page.

You can pin as many pages as you wish, one page per time. Your selection will be stored on your personal pinboard for the next 30 days.

You must have cookies enabled to use this feature and make sure that your browser does not clear cookies when you close it. Your pinboard is only displayed in the browser and on the computer you used to "pin".

What does the RSS icon in your news section mean?

Depending on the source, RSS is described as Really Simple Syndication (most popular), Rich Site Summary or RDF Site summary. RSS is an application of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and is a format for syndicating news.

RSS-news items can be read via a newsreader. Newsreaders display information feeds from your chosen websites on your computer, they warn you when a new item is put online and enable you to read the item without actually having to visit the website. Many high profile news and information providers (e.g. BBC, Reuters and Yahoo) and several national newspapers offer this service.

Well-known readers are Sharpreader, Feedreader, Newzcrawler, RSSreader and Rocketreader. Macintosh-users can use readers such as Newsfire, NetNewswire, Netvibes and PulpFiction. RSS-readers are often available for free and are either installed as a separate computer programme or as an integrated plug-in to your e-mail programme (e.g. Newsgator) or internet browser (e.g. Pluck). Internet browsers Internet Explorer 7, Firefox and Safari 2.0 support RSS as well.

How do I adapt the font size of your website?

The COST Website has variable text size enabled for vision impairment compliance so you can adapt the font size in your browser settings. As an indication, the site has been designed with a "Medium" font size.

In Internet Explorer, go to the "View" menu and change your choice in "Text Size". In Mozilla Firefox, go to the “View” menu and change your choice in “Zoom”.

Why can I not open .PDF files?

To be able to read Portable Document Format (PDF) files, you will have to download the free Adobe Reader and install it on your computer.

What are Zip files?

Zip files are single files that contain one or more compressed files. Zip files compress data thus saving disk space and download time. To be able to uncompress .Zip files, you will have to install e.g. WinZip on your computer. Windows XP also supports .Zip files.

COST-ESF relations

show all | hide all

What is the European Science Foundation?

ESF  was established in 1974 to coordinate collaboration in research, networking, funding of international research programmes, and strategic and science policy activities at a European level. It was the legal entity of COST between 2003 and 2014, providing the COST Office in Brussels through a specific contract with the European Commission. 

The COST Association is, as of 1 October 2014, the legal entity implementing all COST activities under Horizon 2020 based on the Framework Partnership Agreement signed with the European Commission. 


Last updated: 20 September 2012 top of page

Follow COST on

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • YouTube