Europe's oldest international research organisation, formed in 1971, is about to streamline its decision-making processes.
The European Co-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (Cost) institution is to slash the number of its subject "domain committees" from 15 to nine and to implement 75 per cent majority voting for when they fail to reach a consensus.
Cost will choose subjects for collaborative research, bringing together European and non-European academics, paying for exchange visits and co-ordinating teams and other practical concerns. But it will not fund research.
The reforms were welcomed by Janez Potonik , the European Union Research Commissioner.
Cost is run by a secretariat based at the European Science Foundation, co-funded by the European Commission.
The new Cost committees are: biomedicine and molecular biosciences; food and agriculture; forests; materials, physical and nanosciences; chemistry, molecular sciences and technologies; Earth system science and environmental management; communication technologies; transport and urban development; and individuals, society, culture and health.