Presidency Report: COST Strategy Priorities - Proposal from JAF/SIG to the CSO Meeting on 3 October 2003

September 23, 2003

Brussels, 22 Sep 2003

Full text of Document 267/03
Suite of documents 267/03

The COST strategy has been laid down in the CSO report (COST 247/03) to the COST Ministerial Conference in Dubrovnik. It consists of three strategic axes

* to position COST in ERA
* to improve research quality in COST
* to improve efficiency in COST

The major question is how to implement the different elements laid down in the above strategic axes in this period of transfer of the scientific secretariat to the COST Office.

A proposal by the SIG Chair on prioritisation and delegation of responsibilities was presented to the SIG and served as a basis for discussion at the SIG meeting on 11 September 2003. Discussion focused to define the first steps of a roadmap towards fulfilment of the strategic objectives as set out in the CSO Report.

The strategic axis of how to improve efficiency in COST was further discussed at the JAF meeting on 12 September. First measures are suggested in this note and can be taken immediately.

The exchange of views at SIG and JAF has led to the following conclusions, which are submitted for approval by the CSO:

1. The reforms related to improve efficiency in COST are considered as first priority. JAF/SIG propose to the CSO the creation of a subgroup ("Friends of the Chair") chaired by the CSO Chair and composed of the JAF and SIG Chairs, representatives from the Secretariat and the COST Office and a few CSO delegates to forward proposals to be examined at future JAF meetings with a view to later approval by the CSO.

2. The establishment of an operational interface in order to elaborate on the positioning of COST within ERA is equally of high priority. The COST Office is invited to present a proposal for discussion to the next SIG meeting in November in view of possible recommendations to the CSO meeting planned for 4-5 December.

3. Based on the discussion of the JAF meeting about accelerating the signing procedure for new COST Actions, the following is suggested:

* After final recommendation of an Action proposal by a TC, the COST National Coordinators and the Secretariat are informed immediately through the COST Office that this proposal will be forwarded to the CSO. This would allow for additional preparation time for potential participants and national signing procedures

* Written comments by CSO members regarding the new COST Actions can be forwarded to both the Secretariat and the COST Office before the next JAF/SIG or CSO meeting

* A presentation of a new Action can be given at a JAF/SIG meeting in the interval between two CSO meetings

* Approval of Action proposals will be taken as a "bloc decision" by the CSO for all Actions forwarded to its meeting. Individual Actions are only to be discussed, if so requested by delegations prior to the meeting.

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