COST, founded in 1979, is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST contributes to reducing the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide. COST Actions provides financial support for joint activities such as conferences, workshops, short-term scientific exchanges, summer schools and publications.
COST is a flexible, fast, effective and efficient tool to network and coordinate nationally funded research activities, bringing good scientists together under light strategic guidance and letting them work out their ideas. COST is based on networks, called COST Actions, centered around research projects in fields that are of interest to at least five COST countries. COST Actions are 4 year international projects with partners from multiple EU contries (but some Non-EU countries are also allowed).
Every COST Action has an objective, defined goals and clear deliverables. These are described in a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by participating COST Countries. There are currently more than 200 Actions running.
In COST Actions the initiative comes from the scientists and technical experts and from those with a direct interest in furthering international collaboration. Due to this “bottom-up” approach, joining COST is very easy.