Aims of the Programme
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 co-operation and interaction in this field.
COST Programme finances coordination and management costs of the research Networks, known as Actions. These are networks of co-ordinated national research projects in fields, which are of interest to a minimum number of participants (at least 5) from different member states. The aims, the work programme, the analytical budget and the duration of each Action are reported in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).The duration of an Action is usually 4 years. The financing of research activities which are implementing during a COST Action is covered either from own financing or within the framework of another Programme (eg. Seventh Framework Programme, National Framework Programme).
A ‘bottom up approach’ (the idea and subject of a COST Action comes from the European scientists themselves), an ‘à la carte’ participation (only countries who wish to participate in an Action do so), equality of access (participation is open to all COST countries) and a flexible structure (easy implementation and lean management of the research initiatives) are the main characteristics of COST. As a precursor of advanced multidisciplinary research, COST has a very important role in building the European Research Area (ERA), anticipating and complementing the activities of the Framework Programmes, acting as a ‘bridge’ spanning the scientific communities of the whole Europe, increasing the mobility of researchers across Europe and fostering the establishment of large Framework Programmes projects in many key scientific domains such as:
- Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences
- Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies
- Earth System Science and Environmental Management
- Food and Agriculture
- Forest, their Products and Services
- Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Materials, Physical and Nanosciences
- Transport and Urban Development.
COST has a geographical scope beyond the EU and most of the Central and Eastern European countries are members. COST also welcomes the participation of interested institutions from non-COST member states without any geographical restriction.