COST strategy

COST’s interdisciplinary bottom-up networks are bridging the innovation divide in Europe and provide a large spectrum of opportunities for young generations of researchers and innovators.

The COST governing board, the Committee of Senior Officials, approved the strategy that will drive COST throughout the end of Horizon 2020 and the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe, on 12 December 2017.

By approving this strategy (COST Strategic Plan), COST reveals its ambition to be in the heart of the European Research Area (ERA). The organisation is strongly committed to continue serving as the open leading networking tool, currently engaging about 45,000 researchers and innovators.

Promoting and spreading excellence

Excellence is everywhere. COST is instrumental in bridging the research and innovation divide and participation gaps in Europe.

COST’s open and bottom-up nature creates an attractive ecosystem for researchers and innovators from all disciplines, regardless of their career stage, country of origin or area of interest. COST operates in an inclusive manner, taking advantage of Europe’s diverse, multicultural and highly skilled population. This approach connects Europe’s “pockets of excellence” providing structural support to ERA, widening the research and innovation base in Europe, and promoting cooperation in science and technology with other countries beyond its current membership.

Simple and low-barrier processes for universal access to networks of excellence have been developed, providing new participants with a highly rewarding start-up package in the research and innovation world. This concept of mutual benefit is an integral part of every COST Action and highly valued by participants.

Fostering interdisciplinary research for breakthrough science

Interdisciplinary research often results in discoveries, innovations and breakthroughs that are crucial in the ambition to boost jobs, economic growth, investments, and improve the quality of life of Europe’s citizens and the environment.

Within COST Actions, open networks of excellence are created in all scientific fields, and knowledge is freely shared among all types of specialists and sectors. The open and bottom-up nature of the COST networking-activities allows researchers and innovators the freedom of thought and attracts contributions of various science disciplines, leading to options for solutions to societal challenges.

“More than 80% of running COST Actions are of an interdisciplinary nature.”

Empowering and retaining young researchers and innovators

Networks and personal contact with more experienced researchers and innovators empower young talent and opens their career perspectives.

COST networking activities enable young researchers and innovators to prepare and empower themselves with more self-confidence and motivation to stay in Europe for their next career steps in research and beyond. COST promotes brain circulation within Europe through its short-term scientific missions (STSMs), limiting brain drain from peripheral regions to research-intense regions in Europe. The focus of COST on young researchers and innovators takes into consideration gender balance in order to ensure equal opportunities and gender-friendly career advancement.

It is important for young researchers and innovators to broaden their scope and knowledge beyond their own scientific discipline, and to acquire transferrable and transversal skills. COST Actions gather researchers and innovators from all career levels, from PhD students to Nobel Prize winners. Through networking COST also connects complementary funding schemes ranging from Erasmus+ all the way up to ERC Grants, facilitating entry of promising young talents into these schemes.