2021 marks COST’s 50th anniversary! While COST was created on 22-23 November 1971, this special event deserves more than one day to pay tribute to the most compelling achievements that occurred under the first European programme for collaborative research. The Ministerial Conference taking place today4 May 2021, under the auspices of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, offers a great opportunity to start throwing us back to the key milestones and success stories that took place during the past half-century.  

On this occasion, we have launched a dedicated “COST 50 years” publication and website gathering an extensive overview of COST in the last half-century.  Join us in the celebration of these 50 years of science without borders throughout the year. 

Growing ideas through networks 

For 50 years, COST laid the foundations for scientific cooperation at European level and has since then involve more than 500.000 researchers in networking activities. 

COST has proven to be the leading open networking tool in the ERA creating open spaces for the free circulation of researchers and ideas, to advance knowledge and innovationsays COST Director Dr Ronald de Bruin. 

1971-2021: 50 years of Research Networks 

COST’s creation has really been a turning point in European research cooperation, as Prof. Paulo Ferrão, President of COST, points out:

COST has in practice demonstrated that cooperation between countries was possible on a far larger scale even if they did not all belong to the European Community. COST contributed to the successful integration of EU Member States within the European Research Area (ERA)”. Read more here 


Prof. Paulo Ferrão, President of COST

With 19 Members in 1971, COST quickly grew over the years with the addition of 19 members, one Cooperative Member and one Partner Member. See COST’s timeline.  

I2013COST was officially established as the “COST Association. From then onwards it was referred to as COST, therefore reinforcing its mission to provide bottom-up, open, inclusive, and interdisciplinary networking opportunities for researchers and innovators from all areas of science and technology (S&T) in order to strengthen Europe’s capacity to address scientific, technological and societal challenges.. 

With only 7 COST Actions” at the beginningCOST is currently funding 291 Actions for a period of four yearsEasy entry point for researchers, COST Actions form the perfect environment to create follow-up consortia and spin-off projects in Horizon Europe.  

The journey continued when new complementary networking activities saw the light in 2017, namely COST ConnectCOST AcademyCOST Cross-Cutting Activities, and the pilot of the COST Innovators’ Grant. Following thatcountless of new opportunities flourished to make researchers grow through networking and knowledge sharing, thereby continuing to enhance COSTimpact on society at large. 

COST has always fostered capacity building and increased brain circulation in Europe and beyond, by providing networking and leadership opportunities for emerging talents, which in turn strengthens and expands excellent S&T communities.  

The 50th anniversary is an excellent opportunity to reflect on our past achievements, while assessing what lies ahead in the future– and there is plenty!  

Find the new publication “50 YEARS of RESEARCH NETWORKS” here 

Visit our new website celebrating COST 50 years here 

Stay tuned to discover more about COST 50 years initiatives.

Follow-us on our social media channels with the hashtag: #COST50years. 

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