Founded in 1971, COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST Actions cover basic and pre-competitive research as well as activities of public utility.
COST does not fund research itself but provides a platform for European scientists to cooperate on a particular project and exchange expertise. These projects are called “Actions”.
Each COST Action is a network centred around nationally-funded research projects in fields that are of interest to at least five COST countries. COST provides the COST Actions with financial support for joint activities such as conferences, short-term scientific exchanges and publications. Each COST Action has an objective, defined goals and clear deliverables. COST Actions have located their topic into one of COST’s scientific Domains.
Activities are launched following a “bottom-up” approach, meaning that the initiative of launching a COST Action comes from the European researchers themselves.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provides the formal basis of an Action, and is signed by the Governments of the COST countries wishing to participate in the Action. The duration of an action is generally 4 years.
A detailed description of COST is available at the COST website.