European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) - (under Horizon 2020)

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The EU’s contribution to COST is €300 million under Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) , corresponding to 0.38% of the total FP budget.

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About COST


COST is a building block of the European Research Area, instrumental for successful innovation strategies and global cooperation.


Growing ideas through networks


The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is a funding organisation for the creation of research networks, called COST Actions. These networks offer an open space for collaboration among scientists across Europe (and beyond) and thereby give impetus to research advancements and innovation.


COST is bottom up, this means that researchers can create a network – based on their own research interests and ideas – by submitting a proposal to the COST Open Call. The proposal can be in any science field. COST Actions are highly interdisciplinary and open. It is possible to join ongoing Actions, which therefore keep expanding over the funding period of four years. They are multi-stakeholder, often involving the private sector, policymakers as well as civil society.


Since 1971, COST receives EU funding under the various research and innovation framework programmes, such as Horizon 2020.

COST funding intends to complement national research funds, as they are exclusively dedicated to cover collaboration activities, such as workshops, conferences, working group meetings, training schools, short-term scientific missions, and dissemination and communication activities. 


The COST Association places emphasis on actively involving researchers from less research-intensive COST Countries (Inclusiveness Target Countries, ITC). Researchers from Near Neighbour Countries and International Partner Countries can also take part in COST Actions, based on mutual benefit. For more information, please visit the global networking page.


Governance structure

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) is an EU-funded, intergovernmental framework with currently 38 Members and 1 Cooperating Member. It has, therefore, a strong reach beyond the European Union. Its main objective is to manage the COST Open Call, dedicated to the creation of pan-European research networks in all science fields.


The COST Association, an international not-for-profit association under Belgian law, is located in Brussels and carries out all activities related to this Open Call. The COST Association integrates governance, management, and implementation functions into a single structure.


The COST Members established the COST Association, in September 2013. Its decision-making body is the general assembly of Members, the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO). Other legal bodies are the Executive Board, the COST Director and the COST Ministerial Conferences, which are organised every five years to gather the support and commitment of the Members’ national governments.

Each Member and the Cooperating Member Israel nominate a COST National Coordinator. The COST Scientific Committee advises the COST Association about the Open Call, its quality and procedures.


Prof. Paulo Ferrão is the President of the COST Association. The Vice-President is Ms Tea Glažar. The Director of the COST Association is Dr Ronald de Bruin.


COST mission


The COST Mission was approved in 2018 by the decision-making body of the organisation, the Committee of Senior Officials, according to which:

“COST provides networking opportunities for researchers and innovators in order to strengthen Europe’s capacity to address scientific, technological and societal challenges.”

The three strategic priorities:

  • Promoting and spreading excellence
  • Fostering interdisciplinary research for breakthrough science
  • Empowering and retaining young researchers and innovators

COST implements its mission by funding bottom-up, excellence-driven, open and inclusive networks
for peaceful purposes in all areas of science and technology.


What do we fund?


The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) provides international research funding for researchers and innovators to set up interdisciplinary research networks in Europe and beyond, this can include all fields of science and technology.

Researchers can also join existing COST Actions. 


Typically, COST Actions run for 4 years and have an average budget of €129,000 per annum, depending on the number of COST Countries participating in the Action.


How to get funding


Proposals for COST Actions are collected through the submission, evaluation, selection and approval (SESA) procedure.

A COST Action proposal can be submitted at any time of the year. Proposals are collected up to twice a year.

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