COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level.
COST is ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead in Horizon 2020. COST’s mission is to enable break-through scientific developments leading to new concepts and products, and thereby contribute to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation capacities. As part of this mission, COST will continue to foster scientific and technological excellence and inclusiveness in Europe, by supporting bottom-up, open science and technology networks involving researchers across the continent. In order to do so, COST has been formally inscribed in Horizon 2020 and is expected to contribute in particular to the ‘Societal Challenges’ and ‘Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation’ pillars of the Horizon 2020 strategy.
Horizon 2020 has been allocated a budget of almost €80 billion, amounting to a 30% increase from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). In this context, COST will receive an increased budget compared to the budget allocated under FP7. This increase confirms the strategic importance of COST as a unique intergovernmental framework in the context of the ERA, enabling scientists and researchers to jointly develop their own ideas and new initiatives through inclusive, trans-European cooperation in science and technology and networking.
COST’s preparation for the new seven-year period required the establishment of a new legal entity, the ‘COST Association’. The COST Association will incorporate COST’s governance and administrative functions into a single, integrated structure. All 35 COST Member Countries are expected to adhere to and support this new dedicated agency, thus taking full responsibility for the implementation of COST as an intergovernmental networking framework programme. COST’s current implementing agent, the European Science Foundation (ESF), will ensure that COST activities continue to be implemented until the EC-ESF COST II FP7 Grant Agreement is fully executed and all activities are definitively transferred to the COST Association. COST and the ESF are jointly committed to ensuring a smooth transition so as to avoid any disruption of activities, to the best benefit of the European science and technology community.
COST is a building block of the European Research Area, instrumental for successful innovation strategies and global cooperation.
COST Mission Statement
COST enables breakthrough scientific developments leading to new concepts and products and thereby contributes to strengthen Europe’s research and innovation capacities.
COST key features are:
Building capacity by connecting high-quality scientific communities throughout Europe and worldwide; Providing networking opportunities for early career investigators;
Increasing the impact of research on policy makers, regulatory bodies and national decision makers as well as the private sector.
COST has a very specific mission and goal. It contributes to reducing the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide.
As a precursor of advanced multidisciplinary research, COST plays a very important role in building a European Research Area (ERA). It anticipates and complements the activities of the EU Framework Programmes, constituting a “bridge” towards the scientific communities of emerging countries. It also increases the mobility of researchers across Europe and fosters the establishment of scientific excellence in the nine key domains:
In addition, Trans-Domain Proposals allow for broad, multidisciplinary proposals to strike across the nine scientific domains.
COST funds pan-European, bottom-up networks of scientists and researchers across all science and technology fields. These networks, called 'COST Actions', promote international coordination of nationally-funded research.
COST does not fund research itself, but provides support for networking activities carried out within COST Actions.
The Actions are bottom-up science and technology networks open to researchers and stakeholders, with a four-year duration and a minimum participation of five COST Countries.
COST Actions are active through a range of networking tools, such as meetings, workshops, conferences, training schools, short-term scientific missions (STSMs) and dissemination activities. COST Actions are open to researchers from universities, public and private research institutions, as well as to NGOs, industry and SMEs. To learn more about participating in COST Actions, please visit the Participate page.
COST invites researchers throughout Europe to submit proposals for COST Actions through a continuous Open Call. The two collection dates a year are announced in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the COST Website. Following a thorough evaluation and selection process, the decision for funding a proposal is taken by the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) within eight months from the collection date. Successful proposals are approved to become COST Actions and can expect to ‘kick-off’ within three months thereafter. For more information on how to submit a proposal for a COST Action, please visit the Open Call page.
Proposals for COST Actions can be submitted in one of the COST Scientific Domains. Highly interdisciplinary proposals that cover several scientific Domains can be submitted through the COST Trans-Domain (TD) Pilot.
Researchers can also apply to join an existing COST Action.
COST Actions are open to international cooperation, by also allowing the participation of researchers from Near Neighbour Countries and International Partner Countries on the basis of mutual benefit. In addition, COST has signed Reciprocal Agreements with Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa as a pilot exercise to facilitate cooperation with researchers from these countries.COST's 35 Member Countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Israel is a Cooperating State.