All in the COST

April 19, 2006

Brussels, 18 Apr 2006

After 35 years in operation, the EU-funded COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology) initiative is going strong. It currently has an Open Call for proposals to build on its efforts to stimulate new, innovative and interdisciplinary scientific networks in Europe.

COST is one of the longest-running instruments supporting co-operation among scientists and researchers across Europe. In its 35 years, COST has managed to bring together 35 member countries which are committed to helping their scientists collaborate in a range of research and technology-related activities.

COST is currently inviting researchers across Europe to submit proposals for networks aimed at strengthening the European Research Area (ERA). "Inviting the European scientific community at large to take advantage of the COST scheme, for the first time, is an important step to foster the development of the ERA," commented Francesco Fedi, a senior member of COST's committee, in a statement.

Proposals for new COST Actions should also contribute to Europe's scientific, technical, economic, cultural or societal development. The projects should also play, what COST calls, a "precursor role" for other European programmes. Proposals from young professionals or groups are especially welcome.

First round coming up Since 1971, COST has been bringing together research teams in different countries working on specific topics. It finances networking of nationally funded activities in supporting meetings, conferences, short-term scientific exchanges and outreach activities. "COST does not fund research itself," it points out.

Currently, more than 200 Actions are being supported. Every year, approximately 50 new activities are approved. On average, each of these receives a yearly grant of €90 000 over a four-year period.

Martin Grabert, director of the COST office, suggested in a statement that, by encouraging new groups to network their ideas and projects, COST wants to make an active contribution to European competitiveness and appeal. Activities carried out must underpin scientific excellence in Europe. A first collection date for preliminary proposals is scheduled for 31 May 2006.

In related news, the European Science Foundation (ESF) is also inviting applications for outline proposals for collaborative research projects to be undertaken within its EUROCORES programme 'Inventing Europe'. The deadline for this call is 31 May 2006. See the announcement: 'Inventing Europe: Technology and the Making of Europe, 1850 to the Present'.

DG Research
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