COST networks foster career development

The COST Association recently carried out a targeted impact assessment on career development through participation in COST Actions. Networking helps researchers and innovators make new contacts and establish collaborations, thereby creating opportunities for their professional growth. Professional development and career advancement are core elements of COST’s impact philosophy.

The assessment involved a survey with more than 4500 former and current Action participants, and 30 in-depth interviews with participants holding a leadership position. The study paid particular attention to career development for younger researchers and researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs).

Main findings

  • 88 % of survey respondents said COST has a strong or very strong impact on their careers
  • COST Actions lead to new career opportunities, especially in 5-10 years’ time
  • Several Action leaders said that, thanks to their leadership position, they could get a permanent position or were able to build out a research group
  • Impact on career is more often mentioned by researchers from ITCs, young and female researchers
  • Younger researchers particularly mention opportunities to start new collaborations and projects
  • One third of researchers said it was the first time they participated in a COST Action, and this led to substantially expand their network of contacts
  • Five out of six countries with which most new networking links were created are ITCs: Serbia, Bulgaria, Portugal, Poland and Croatia

The study ran from February to April 2019 and was executed by a consortium of Erdyn and ZSI.