European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research – is one of the longest-running European instruments supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe. COST is also the first and widest European intergovernmental network for coordination of nationally funded research activities. The goal of COST is to ensure that Europe holds a strong position in the field of scientific and technical research for peaceful purposes, by increasing European cooperation and interaction in this field. COST has clearly shown its strength in non-competitive research, in pre-normative cooperation and in solving environmental and cross-border problems and problems of public utility. It has been successfully used to maximise European synergy and added value in research cooperation and it is a useful tool to further European integration. Ease of access for institutions from non-member countries also makes COST a very interesting and successful tool for tackling topics of a truly global nature.
COST has a geographical scope beyond the EU and welcomes the participation of interested institutions from non-COST member states without any geographical restriction. As a precursor of advanced multidisciplinary research, COST plays a very important role in the realisation of the 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 nine key domains:
- Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences
- Food and Agriculture
- Forests, their Products and Services
- Materials, Physical and Nanosciences
- Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies
- Earth System Science and Environmental Management
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Transport and Urban Development
- Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health
A continuous COST Open Call to attract the best proposals for new COST Actions is used. The continuous call is thematically open and proposals playing a precursor role for other European programmes and/or initiated by early-stage researchers are particularly welcome. Applicants are invited to locate their topic within one Domain. However, interdisciplinary proposals not fitting readily into a single Domain are also welcome. Proposals are assessed in two stages. Preliminary Proposals, consisting of a brief overview and an impact description, are checked for eligibility first and, when eligible, assessed by the relevant Domain Committee against the published criteria. The top ranked Preliminary Proposals are then invited to submit a Full Proposal which is peer reviewed according to the published assessment criteria. The time between the collection date and the proposal for approval of the best Full Proposals by the COST CSO is approximately 6 months.
The scientific importance and relevance of COST results is well recognised also by the scientific communities outside Europe and in particular in the USA, Canada and Asia: more than 130 Institutions from non-COST countries participate every year in more than 100 COST Actions. COST results have also contributed to European competitiveness through the many contributions to normative and standardisation bodies, the many Small Enterprises originating in Europe from COST activities at the frontiers of modern technology and by the many examples of transfer of results to the European industry.
COST web-site: http://www.cost.esf.org/