Online Info Day – Demonstrating the value of research networking


Open to all scientific and technological fields; COST is an ideal instrument for researchers to create scientific and societal innovation in Europe.

The COST programme, which celebrates its 50th year in 2021, offers space for researchers to grow their ideas and strengthen the R&D landscape of Europe and beyond. Approximately 45,000 individuals from every stage of the career ladder currently take part in the programme’s research networks, known as COST Actions, however the open nature of COST means that there is always an opportunity for people to join running networks, or to propose their own Action through the yearly Open Call. To help prospective participants, COST held an Info Day on Friday 1st October, with the aim of explaining the programme and demonstrating the value of joining.

Dr Anusha Panjwani, Head of Science Operations, introduced the event, explaining the strengths and key features of the programme. Dr Panjwani then explained the aims of the COST programme, highlighting the ‘Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy’ that empowers young researchers and innovators, enables geographic diversity, as well as gender balance within Actions.  The following sessions focused on practical elements of participation, including the new simplified rules for participation (as from 1 November) by Mr Christer Halen (Policy Administrator, COST Association), such as which activities are funded and the process of how to submit a proposal by Dr Deniz Karaca (Science Officer, COST Association).

Click to view the slides from the Info Day – opens in a new window

Prof. Neil Lagali from the University of Linköping University, Sweden, then gave a personal overview of his time as Chair of COST Action, Aniridia: Networking to address an unmet medical, scientific, and societal challenge (ANIRIDIA-NET), which researched a rare eye disease that exists from birth and leads to blindness or severe visual impairment. Prof. Lagali explained that the goal of the Action was to develop novel diagnostics and treatments and highlighted how the Action built an inclusive EU network of ophthalmologists, scientists, trainees, patient organisations, industry and special interest groups; creating links between them and training opportunities.

Reflecting on his role, he spoke of how the Action had raised his profile within the research community and how it had brought many new opportunities.  He also stated that he had experienced the feeling that borders dissolve amongst a network of extended colleagues.

Watch a video made by COST Action Aniridia about their research focus.

Inspired to join or propose a COST Action?

COST creates spaces where scientists are in the driving seat and ideas can grow through a flexible and open approach. By enabling researchers from academia, industry and the public and private sector to work together in open networks that transcend borders, COST helps to advance science, stimulates knowledge sharing and pools resources.

Browse all of our running COST Actions to find a research network to join here, or alternatively propose your own network. The Open Call deadline for proposals is 29 October 2021.

Further reading

Q&A session answers

Event listing

Open Call page

Aniridia website