The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), an intergovernmental organization established in 1971, is one of the longest-running European funding framework for international cooperation in research and science across Europe.
COST provides support for enhancing international coordination of nationally-funded research through financing of scientist and researcher networks in various science and technology fields, called COST Actions. COST currently consists of 40 Full Members – mostly European countries, including Greece as one of its founding members –, 1 Cooperating Member (Israel) and 1 Partner Member (South Africa). COST Actions are open to researchers from universities, public and private research institutes, as well as to non-governmental organizations, the industry sectors and SMEs.
By Ministerial Decision adopted unanimously by government representatives of COST member countries, the COST Association, based in Brussels, was established on 19 September 2013 in order to provide the legal basis for the implementation of COST Actions.
COST actions are implemented through a range of networking tools such as meetings, working groups, conferences, one-day events, publications, short-term scientific missions and result dissemination activities. COST provides financing for all of the above activities; it does not fund research per se.
The COST mandate consists in reducing fragmentation of European investment for research and promoting international cooperation in the context of the European Research Area (ERA). COST has a significant role in building the Economic Research Area, since it complements EU framework programme actions, promotes researcher mobility and fosters scientific excellence in virtually all fields, without exception.
Greek researchers participating in COST Actions enjoy multiple benefits, including increased outward orientation and added value through European networking with groups and workshops in other countries, the opportunity to access important data and infrastructures, broader opportunities for postgraduate education, etc. Participation in COST Actions has been shown to pave the way for access to other EU-funded programmes including Horizon Europe programmes.
Moreover, by focusing on a younger generation, COST makes it easier for young researchers to set up COST Actions in their field of interest using its signature bottom-up approach. According to the latest data, in 2019 Greece participated in 98% of total COST running actions (291). Greek scientists received a total amount of 1,098,000 euros through COST funding and 666 Greek researchers participated in COST Actions; engagement of young researchers in networking activities was 19% and the country’s share of total Action financing corresponded to 3,5%. These latest data have not yet been published by COST.
National participation in running Actions % (total number of running Actions in bracket)
Detailed information on participation in COST Actions are available at the COST website (http://www.cost.eu). Information on features of all running COST Actions is available at https://www.cost.eu/cost-actions/what-are-cost-actions/ and new COST Actions are listed at: https://www.cost.eu/70-new-actions/
Implementation of approved COST Actions and scientific issues are managed by each Action’s Management Committee (MC) composed of up to two (2) regular members from each member country. For Greece, these members are nominated by the GSRTI based on applications of candidates, as explained below.
Participation in a running COST Action:
Candidate researchers must send to the GSRI, from their professional e-mail address, a request to participate in the Management Committee of the Action they are interested in, accompanied by the necessary supporting documents (application form, information document– to be found attached, and one-page CV).
Conditions to be fulfilled are the following:
- a) Candidates must conduct research as employees or affiliates of a research body, public or private;
- b) Research activities of candidates must be relevant to the COST Action in which they wish to participate;
- c) Candidates must be registered in the GSRI Register of Certified Evaluators (https://registry.gsrt.gr/)
Selection is based on the chronological order in which applications and supporting documents are submitted. However, additional, substantial criteria are also taken into account, including a) papers published by candidates over the last five years, b) priority given to younger scientists (i.e. having obtained their degree in the last 8 years) over older ones, c) a balanced gender representation, d) MC members should be affiliated to different organizations, etc.
The GSRI reserves the right to suspend at any time an MC Committee member after receiving written complaints from the Action Chair or Main Proposer concerning non-participation of such member in Action meetings and activities. In special and extraordinary circumstances, following a request by the Action managers, the GSRI may replace nominated MC members with other candidates more suited to the Action, based on the COST principle that participation in a COST Action should always be based on the suitability of the candidate.
In order to allow participation of more candidates in COST Actions, and due to the fact that a single person cannot assume the responsibilities required by many ongoing Actions, regular members are henceforth allowed to participate is no more than two (2) running Actions, with the exception of secondary proposers invited by the main proposer, who must obligatorily be nominated in the Action MC.
The scientific objectives of each COST Action are divided among Working Groups –(WG). Regular MC Members are usually designated as WG members. Additional WG members may be nominated by a member country, including Greece, following approval of the Action Management Committee and after lodging an online application through the COST platform.
Participation in a new COST Action:
A Greek researcher wishing to participate in a new COST Action must be a member of a team of researchers affiliated to organizations from at least 7 different COST member countries and sharing a common scientific idea that could be developed into a COST Action proposal. Proposals may be prepared and submitted on a continuous basis using the e-COST online submission tool and the dates for submission of proposals are set annually. Please read carefully the guidelines available at http://www.cost.eu/participate/open_call . For any scientific field, only the 15-page full proposal (Technical Annex) is to be submitted. It must be pointed out, that according to the new COST policy under Horizon Europe, particular importance should be attached, among others, to a) participation of the so-called “Inclusiveness Target Countries” (ITCs), i.e. less research-intensive COST countries (including Greece, Eastern Europe, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, etc.) and b) whether the proposal achieves “geographical, age and gender balance in its activities and operations”.
Once approved, the proposal becomes a COST Action with a new code number and the main proposer is nominated by priority as member of the Management Committee by the GSRI. Secondary Proposers having contributed to the preparation of the proposal are also given priority as MC members. If, after nomination of the main and secondary proposers, there are still vacancies to be filled, other stakeholders fulfilling the above conditions may be nominated.
Filled-in forms (application and information document) as well as the one-page CV for participation in a COST running Action must be addressed by e-mail to Mrs Georgia Kostopoulou (email@example.com)
Cost National Coordinator / Representative: Georgia Kostopoulou
International Scientific & Technological Cooperation Directorate
European Union and International Organizations Department
COST National Coordinator for Greece
Tel. no: 2131300100
Cost National Representative: Ioannis G. Bartzis
University of Western Macedonia
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Environmental Technology Laboratory
50 100 Kozani
Tel. no: +30 24610 56710, +30 6940 850 470