COST hybrid Info Day dedicated to Malta

09/07/2021

A COST Info Day dedicated to researchers and innovators from Malta was organised on 8 July 2021 to inform them on the networking opportunities provided by COST. The Info Day was marked by the introductions of Prof. Janet Mifsud, COST Committee of Senior Officials and COST National Coordinator for Malta, alongside Dr Ronald de Bruin, Director of the COST Association, and by the presentations of Malta delegates who gave testimonials of their participation in COST Actions.

This COST session was part of the Grants Week 2021 on 5-9 July 2021, organised by the Research Support Services Directorate at the University of Malta, in conjunction with the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), SEA-EU and supported by the European Union Commission. The Info Day was also a hybrid of online participation and in-person participation at the University of Malta – Valletta Campus, the first time in more than a year and a half.

Malta participation in COST over the years

Prof. Janet Mifsud opened the Malta Info Day by presenting COST to the attendees, mostly early career investigators and PhD students. “COST is actually the oldest European Union (EU) mechanism”, she started, “this year, COST is celebrating its 50 years. You should know that COST is extremely beneficial, especially if you are a young researcher”. Then, she gave in depth information about COST’s mechanisms, for example how to get involved in a COST Action (as a participant or a proposer of an Action, as an expert to evaluate submitted proposals or as a rapporteur to monitor the Actions). Prof. Mifsud also shared her personal experience as Committee of Senior Officials for Malta, and thus gave great inputs about the COST Programme. She emphasised on why it is so important that Inclusiveness Target Countries such as Malta should join a COST Action because they are “countries that have not reached their full potential yet”.

Dr Ronald de Bruin congratulated Malta for its high participation in COST: “One third of your research community participates in COST Actions. You are extremely active and know how to benefit from the Programme. Almost 70% of Maltese researchers are involved in ongoing COST Action, three times more than 10 years ago!”. Dr de Bruin also took this opportunity to present to the attendees the New Virtual Networking Tools, launched as a response to the COVID-19 crisis which prevented people from meeting face to face: “They are a response to continuous need for networking in pandemic times”. Ronald de Bruin concluded his presentation by highlighting how COST helps advancing career, especially at EU level. “Experience shows that spin-off from proposals resulting from COST Actions – which means proposals coming from the colleague you meet in Actions – have a success rate 30% superior to the average. We are very enthusiastic about the impact of the Programme, and we try to make sure that you find the right colleague, but also other funding schemes”, he concluded.

Joining COST Actions

After the introductions, attendees were presented relevant information by Christer Halén, COST’s Senior Administrator, on how to prepare a successful COST Action Proposal. “The last round, we had two proposals from Malta”, he started, “When applying to a COST Action, you should remember the importance of sharing knowledge and transferring it”. He then presented all the necessary steps to submit an efficient proposal, from the Open Call from Proposals to the COST Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy or the Actions proposals’ approval process. Christer Halén made a special focus on the importance for the main proposal to be anonymous and to include at least 50% of Inclusiveness Target Countries. He also reminded that COST is open to all fields of Science and Technology, to all partners, to all career stages and to all countries.

Testimonial from Maltese’s COST Actions Participants

After the different presentation, the Info Day continued with the testimonials of Maltese COST Members: Janet Mifsud, of course, but also Dr Melchior Cini (COST National Coordinator and Committee of Senior Officials), Prof. Luciano Mule Stagno (Scientific Committee Chair), Dr Lourdes Farrugia (Chair of COST Action “European network for advancing Electromagnetic hyperthermic medical technologies”) and Dr Jean Paul de Lucca (Management Committee Member of Action “People in Motion: Entangled Histories of Displacement across the Mediterranean (1492-1923)”).

The Info Day ended with Q&A which were answered by COST’s Team and representatives of the Malta University.

COST Info Day Malta - Courtesy_UniversityofMalta_JMoffett

Picture: courtesy of the University of Malta/J. Moffett.

Facts about Malta’s involvement in COST

Malta has been a member of the COST Association since 1997. In the last few years, Malta’s participation in Actions has increased as well as its leadership positions in COST Actions. Indeed, Malta is involved in 69% of COST ongoing Actions (compared to 23% in 2012). If you want to learn more about Malta’s involvement in COST, click here.

Find Prof. Janet Mifsud’s presentation here.

Find Malta Info Day’s presentation here.

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