Actions are networks centred around nationally funded research projects in fields that are of interest to at least five COST countries. The financial support averages EUR 130 000 per year for a four-year period.
Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences - A COST Domain
- Bottom-up principle
The initiative of launching a COST Action comes from the European researchers themselves.
COST Grant System - The aim of the COST Grant System is to provide a flexible way of financing COST Action activities in accordance with the COST guidelines on the COST “Financial Instruments”.
Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies - A COST Domain
COST National Coordinator - One CSO member from each country acts as that country's COST National Coordinator (CNC). The role of the 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
- Liaise with the COST Office and the COST Secretariat
A CNC may have a country-specific portfolio of information or support measures.
- Collection Dates
Deadlines for submitting proposals through the COST Open Call for Proposals.
- COST Countries
COST Member States -
- 35 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and
- One cooperating state: Israel
A cooperating state implies non-voting membership in the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) and in the Domain Committees as well as full member rights on Action level.
According to the COST rules, participation of member states is based exclusively on a voluntary approach. They participate only in mutually agreed Actions, depending on their interest, relevance of joint research and shorter time needed to achieve envisaged results. The achieved results are the property of all participants, who have to provide full funding for agreed research and concerted activities themselves. COST member states merely endorse the Actions by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, thus increasing their importance and providing moral support.
- COST Grant Agreement
A Grant Agreement is a contract between the COST Office (represented by ESF) and the Grant Holder following a request from the Action Management Committee (MC).
- COST Secretariat
The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union provides the secretariat for the CSO and JAF Group. All arrangements concluded in the framework of COST and all Memoranda of Understanding are deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union. The Secretary-General is responsible for forwarding any relevant information to the parties concerned.
Committee of Senior Officials - The CSO is composed of two representatives of the COST Member States, one of whom is usually the COST National Coordinator. The CSO is the main decision-making body of the COST structure. It reports directly to the Ministerial Conferences, formulates the general strategy of COST, appoints the various Domain Committees, decides on their terms of reference, approves the research Actions to be launched and prepares the relevant Memoranda of Understanding to be accepted by the interested countries.
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.
Domain Committees - DCs are responsible for a particular research domain and are formed by representatives of the COST countries and report to the CSO. The scientific quality control is the main responsibility of the Domain Committees which follow the rigorous evaluation procedures established by the CSO involving the mandatory use of external peer reviewers.
European Research Area - In 2000, the European Union (EU) decided to create the ERA. The objective is to inspire the best talents to enter research careers in Europe, incite industry to invest more in European research – contributing to the EU objective to devote 3% of GDP for research, and strongly contribute to the creation of sustainable growth and jobs.
European Research Council - The main aim of the newly-established body is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, engineers and scholars to be adventurous and take risks in their research.
European Space Agency - the ESA is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe.
European Science Foundation - The ESF is an association of 75 member organisations devoted to scientific research in 30 European countries. It was established in 1974 and coordinates a wide range of pan-European scientific initiatives.
ESF provides the COST Office through a contract with the European Commission.
Early Stage Researcher - is a term used to define a researcher whose career spans less than 8 years between the date of the PhD/doctorate (or similar experience) and the date of involvement in the COST Action. Periods of career leave have to be added to this time span.
COST approved a specific strategy for early stage researchers.
Earth System Science and Environmental Management - A COST Domain
EUREKA is a pan-European network for market-oriented, industrial Research and Development (R&D).
Food and Agriculture - A COST Domain
The EU's Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development.
Forests, their Products and Services - A COST Domain
- Full Proposal
Detailed proposal with a complete Technical Annex (the scientific and managerial description of an Action) submitted and evaluated if the Preliminary Proposal is accepted. Only approved full proposals can become COST Actions.
General Action Support Grant - A COST Action's Management Committee may assign up to EUR 2 000 per annum from within an Action budget to the MC chair as grant holder for the general support of the Action management. The GASG is only available for Actions under the Pay-as-you-go system.
Information and Communication Technologies - A COST Domain
Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health - A COST Domain
Interdisciplinary Science Initiative - The ISIs have the objective to foster rapid response schemes for trans-Domain activities and to prepare to targeted activities. A procedure for ISIs will be developed to optimise the flexibility and the rapid response capacity of COST, as an intergovernmental instrument, to enhance the impact of the Lisbon strategy. In particular Trans-Domain initiatives undertaken by DCs to enhance new fields of collaboration are to be supported. COST is an integral part of the ERA. Thus it interacts not only with the ESF, but also with other actors such as the ERC, the EC, the JRC and EUREKA. ISIs are potential breeders of new scientific communities, around multidisciplinary topics and could also result in new Actions as spin offs from such strategic initiatives.
The Executive Group of the CSO - The work of the CSO is prepared by an Executive Group, sometimes still referred to as JAF. 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.
Joint Research Centre - The JRC is a research based policy support organisation and an integral part of the European Commission.
- Lisbon Strategy
The Lisbon Strategy is an action and development plan for the European Union (EU). Its aim is to make the EU "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010". It was set out by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000.
Management Committee - For each Action a Management Committee, formed by national experts of the signatory countries, is in charge of implementing, supervising and coordinating the activities of the Action.
Memorandum of Understanding - The MoU for a particular COST Action is signed by the governments of the COST countries wishing to participate in the Action upon proposals of their national organisations. Each Memorandum includes a specific Technical Annex defining in detail the contents and the arrangements for the implementation of the Action and related activities, respectively.
Materials, Physics and Nanosciences - A COST Domain
- Non-COST country
Every country that is not one of the COST countries.
The COST programme distinguishes between the following three non-COST country categories:
- Near Neighbour countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, the Russian Federation, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. For these countries, the COST programme has a particular near neighbour scheme.
Reciprocal Agreement countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.
For these countries, particular reciprocal agreements for the organisation of RSTSMs exist.
- Countries from the rest of the world.
- Open Call
A two-stage Call for proposals (CfP) to support Scientific and Technical Collaboration in Europe. The CfP never closes but works around collection dates.
A first short proposal, or a proposal’s outline, submitted during the first stage of the COST Open Call for Proposals.
In COST terms, a “Proposer” is an applicant to the Open Call for Proposals. In other terms, someone or an institution submitting a proposal.
Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM) under a Reciprocal Agreement - These Missions (Inter-laboratory Exchange Visits) aim at strengthening the existing COST Actions by allowing scientists to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST country to foster collaboration, to learn a new technique or to take measurements using instruments and/or methods not available in their own institution/laboratory. They are particularly intended for Early Stage Researchers. COST has signed reciprocal agreements with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Short-Term Scientific Missions - These Missions (Inter-laboratory Exchange Visits) aim at strengthening the existing COST Actions by allowing scientists to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST country to foster collaboration, to learn a new technique or to take measurements using instruments and/or methods not available in their own institution/laboratory. They are particularly intended for Early Stage Researchers.
Technical Committee - TCs were abolished in 2005 and replaced by 9 Domain Committees.
Trans-Domain Proposals - TDPs offer scientists fertile ground for future networks across many scientific disciplines, by allowing unusually broad, interdisciplinary proposals to strike across the nine scientific domains currently offered.
Transport and Urban Development - A COST Domain
Working Groups - The scientific work of the Actions is organised through Working Groups.
- “A la carte” principle
Only countries interested in the Action participate.