About COST

Growing ideas through networks

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is a funding organisation for the creation of research networks, called COST Actions. These networks offer an open space for collaboration among scientists across Europe (and beyond) and thereby give impetus to research advancements and innovation.

COST is bottom up, this means that researchers can create a network – based on their own research interests and ideas – by submitting a proposal to the COST Open Call. The proposal can be in any science field. COST Actions are highly interdisciplinary and open. It is possible to join ongoing Actions, which therefore keep expanding over the funding period of four years. They are multi-stakeholder, often involving the private sector, policymakers as well as civil society.

Since 1971, COST receives EU funding under the various Research and Innovation Framework Programmes, such as Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

COST funding intends to complement national research funds, as they are exclusively dedicated to cover collaboration activities, such as workshops, conferences, working group meetings, training schools, short-term scientific missions, and dissemination and communication activities. For more information, please go to the Funding section of this website.

The COST Association places emphasis on actively involving researchers from less research-intensive COST Countries (Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs)). Researchers from Near Neighbour Countries (NNCs) and International Partner Countries (IPCs) can also take part in COST Actions, based on mutual benefit. For more information, please visit the global networking page.

COST’s Governance structure

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is an EU-funded, intergovernmental framework with currently 41 Members and 1 Cooperating Member. It has, therefore, a strong reach beyond the European Union. Its main objective is to manage the COST Open Call, dedicated to the creation of pan-European research networks in all science fields.

The COST Association, an international not-for-profit association under Belgian law, is located in Brussels and carries out all activities related to this Open Call. The COST Association integrates governance, management, and implementation functions into a single structure.

The COST Members established the COST Association, in September 2013. Its decision-making body is the general assembly of Members, the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO), other legal bodies are the Executive Board, the Director of the COST Association and the COST Ministerial Conferences, which are organised every five years to gather the support and commitment of the Members’ national governments.

Each Member and the Cooperating Member Israel nominate a COST National Coordinator (CNCs). The COST Scientific Committee (SC) advises the COST Association about the Open Call, its quality and procedures. Further information on can be found on our Who is Who page.

Prof. Salvatore Grimaldi is the President of the COST Association. The interim Vice-President is Prof. John Bartzis. The Director of the COST Association is Dr Ronald de Bruin.

50 years of research networks

The creation of COST at the Ministerial Conference of 22 and 23 November 1971 was a solution to key challenges that researchers in Europe were facing at the time.

On that date, 19 countries signed the General Resolution, in the form of a Cooperation Agreement, launching the first 7 COST Actions. These countries believed in advancing R&I through the seemingly simple act of bringing people together.

COST was the first European funding programme at the pilot stage of experimental scientific and technological cooperation. For 50 years, COST has laid the foundations for scientific cooperation and to date has involve more than 500,000 researchers in its networking activities.  

The number 50 in shades of blue and purple with the dates 1971-2021 below

Useful links

Further reading