Brussels, 23 Mar 2006
With a view to a possible common statement of the CSO to the desired level of financial support to COST from the 7th RTD Framework Programme, delegations will find in annex an indicative budget prepared by the COST Office.
The Lisbon strategy puts research and innovation at the centre of a European policy for sustainable growth and employment. COST is coordinating nationally-funded projects to create an added value. One objective is to enable in particular young groups to advance frontier research topics or required standards or applications at the European level. Themes, for which no other networking opportunities exist, do require special attention, too.
The CSO decided to introduce more competitiveness in the process of approving Actions. The CSO has asked the COST Office to prepare proposals for the Open Call procedure and appropriate Selection Criteria to achieve this objective. Having launched the Open Call and having gained first experiences with the management of the process, this reform will contribute to a plea for substantial FP7 funding for COST. A pilot project to test the demand for Young Investigator Networks (YIN) might be launched later this year. Together with the encouragement of the CNC to nominate also young researchers to the MCs this will establish solid grounds for the final assessment of the FP6 contract. The outcome of this assessment could have an impact on the funding made available out of FP7. However, the future of COST will also require optimised and efficient management of the funds available. It is to be expected that the process of devolution of managing the support to the Actions will be intensified. Therefore, the COST Office has planned for the transition to an annual grant system for all Actions to be implemented at the beginning of 2007. Adequate web-based tools and training will be provided for the Actions to facilitate the transition. A "deepening" to an average budget for each Action of 90000 is planned to give the Actions a necessary and flexible operational basis. As suggested by the Mid Term Review, a new instrument dedicated to YIN might offer additional specific opportunities to be provided through the frame of COST. To estimate the budget requirements, a preliminary calculation based on the assumption that there will be a modest growth of 5% p.a. in the number of networks is made. This will amount to a total number of 260 traditional COST Actions plus 80 new initiatives (including an appropriate number specifically dedicated to young researchers) to be supported in 2013. Overall Budget in FP7 To be able to cope with these developments, the total budget in the ESF/COST contract will have to be increased. Starting from a level of funding in the order of 24 m in the year 2006, the budget will have to grow to 46 m in 2013 (incl. overheads, plus transition costs) to meet the outlined targets and applying an annual grant scheme for all Actions. The total budget over the period of 7 years from 2007 to 2013 is calculated to be approximately 280 m . This represents an average funding of 38 m p.a. of which more than 79 % are dedicated for the support of science. The above sum represents less than 1 of the budget proposed by the Commission for the Specific Programme Cooperation. An adequate contract covering also a transition period to FP8 in the year 2013/2014 should enable ESF-COST to provide reliable partnership with clear accountability and sufficient flexibility to cope with actual developments for the coming years. The required funding [on the basis of 2005 ] by years in FP7 is as follows:
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