Two recent occasions were dedicated to the promotion of COST in Belarus. In both cases, national resources were fully utilised to explain and showcase the added value that participation in a COST Action would bring.
The two events were different in nature. While the one organised in Grodno and Brest in December 2019 focused on training potential participants on how to identify relevant COST Actions and join them, the second event in Minsk, in January 2020 put the emphasis to raise awareness about COST in the wider community of IT and other technology, engineering and natural sciences experts.
Start with COST
“Start with COST” training was held in Grodno and Brest western regional capitals of Belarus on 4 and 5 December. The training was part of the HORIZON2020 Week-2019. The events were hosted by the Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno and Brest Technopark and welcome around 40 people.
Above: Participants from the Start with COST training day
The aim of the event was to introduce COST as the excellent networking tool and pre-portal for EU-funded programs in STI. It also gave the opportunity to guide through the participants the COST portal and help to find a suitable COST Action for them to join.
The last weekend of January is traditionally the time to celebrate the Day of Science in Belarus. This year, the National Information Point for EU Research and Innovation Programmes based in BelISA, http://www.belisa.org.by/ marked it by organizing two COST awareness raising events in the leading universities (22 and 24 January 2020, Minsk). Together, they welcomed over 90 participants.
The first Awareness Day was held upon the request of the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radio Electronics and welcome research staff of their own as well as other universities dealing with IT and other technology, engineering and natural sciences.
The COST National Correspondent Ms Olga Meerovskaya presented at both events the rationale and rules for participation in COST activities and explained current participation figures for Belarus in the context of the Eastern Partnership countries. She also pointed out that in order to find a suitable COST Action, one should check the titles and need to go deeper in the activities of the working groups. “Thus, you may find out, for example, a research on gender in quantum technologies as part of the action on QT which seems to be very far from social sciences”, – she noted.
Above: Attendees at the COST Awareness Day in January 2020
First-hand information on COST participation was given by Dr Boris Assanovich, Ass. Professor, Information Systems & Technologies Department, Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno and Dr. Tatyana Lipinskaya, Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus at the two events respectively.
Dr Assanovich and his team are involved in four COST Actions (namely: СА15104 “Inclusive Radio Communication Networks for 5G and beyond”, СA15221 “Advancing effective institutional models towards cohesive teaching, learning, research and writing development” СА15124 ‘Network of European BioImage Analysts to advance life science imaging” and CA16101 “MULTI-modal Imaging of FOREnsic SciEnce Evidence – tools for Forensic Science”). With the fifth COST Action coming soon, this group can be considered a national COST champion.
Dr. Lipinskaya presented her experience of participation in the Action CA15219 DNAqua-NET, “DEVELOPING NEW GENETIC TOOLS FOR BIOASSESSMENT OF AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS IN EUROPE”, one of the two COST Actions she is currently involved in.
“COST allowed me and my colleagues to quickly enlarge the professional contacts in the EU. Thanks to COST, we have already submitted a bilateral project with Canada and become a partner in an application to H2020. There is a high interest in Europe towards Belarus in biology and related areas, so both Belarusian researchers and their EU partners do get benefits from collaboration. What one really needs to benefit is to be proactive.”
Participants could also get through the COST website with the guidance of Ms.Katherine Skuratovich, BelISA. By the end of the training as well as the awareness day participants identified the COST Actions relevant for their expertise.
The awareness days were hosted by the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radio Electronics and the Belarusian State University of Economics.