COST - European COoperation in Science and Technology

What is COST?

European COoperation in Science and Technology (COST) is the oldest funding instrument for research cooperation in Europe (°1971).

  • COST creates an intergovernmental framework to stimulate cooperation between scientists and scholars anywhere in Europe and contributes to avoiding fragmentation in European research investments. It is an instrument to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) and facilitates worldwide cooperation.
  • COST does not fund research activities, but networking activities such as meetings, conferences, workshops, Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM), training schools and publication and dissemination activities.
  • A COST Action is an interdisciplinary research network that brings researchers and innovators together to investigate a topic of their choice for 4 years.  COST Actions are typically made up of researchers from academia, SMEs, public institutions and other relevant organisations or interested parties.
  • 38 COST Member countries govern COST via their representatives in the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO).
  • 22 of these countries are COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs).
  • The COST inclusiveness policy is developed around three main elements: Geographical spread;  Career stage: involving young researchers and Gender balance.

From networking in a  COST-action, often new ideas for research arise, for instance project ideas which could be funded by Horizon Europe. COST is also complementary to Horizon Europe by reaching out to emerging countries. COST stimulates mobility of researchers and is open to all research domains.

Why participate in COST?

  • You will be able to align your research with other research groups.
  • You will expand your research network in Europe and beyond extensively.
  • You will contribute to the training of young researchers.
  • The project officers of the European Commission are aware of running COST Actions and can use them as inspiration for new Horizon Europe calls.
  • You can use the network to initiate new proposals for Horizon Europe or other programmes, e.g. MSCA-DN, Doctoral Networks to hire and train PhD-students.
  • A COST action gets a maximum EC contribution of €150.000 per year. The number of partners can be high (30 to 40). Limits need to be set for the number of participants of an event who can be reimbursed.

How to participate in a COST Action

There are two ways to get involved in COST:

  1. join an existing Action
  2. propose a new Action

The FWO is the contact point for  Flemish researchers who want to participate in COST.

  • Participation in a COST Action is decided on Member State level. It is the COST Senior Official of the Member State who signs the Memorandum of Understanding. Do you have plans for a new COST-action, then you should inform the FWO and your EU office about your application. There are two collection dates per year to submit a new COST Action.
  • Every new approved COST Action appoints a Management Committee (MC), consisting of one or two members of each Member State involved. If you want to become a member of the MC of an existing COST-action, then you can submit an application with the FWO COST Contact point.  
  • Read more about the selection procedure of Management Committee representatives (in Dutch).
  • Read our COST UGent guidelines.

Who can participate?

Researchers and innovators from universities, public and private institutions, NGOs, industry and SMEs.

Particular emphasis is placed on activities involving researchers from less-research-intensive COST Member countries with a view to increasing their participation.

Thus, COST Actions are open to:

  • all fields of science and technology (including interdisciplinary, new and emerging fields);
  • all types of institutions (academia, public institutions, SME/Industry, NGO, European/International organisations, etc)
  • all career stages; and
  • all COST Members (based on mutual benefit). Non-COST Members can join based on mutual benefit, they are spread across the Near Neighbour Countries and International Partner Countries. For more information on international cooperation, please click here.

Activities reimbursed by COST

The budgets from a COST Action are managed by the Grant Holder and can be used for organization, travel and subsistence costs, for:

  • Management Comittee meetings
  • Working group meetings
  • Training schools (usually 3 to 5 days), both trainers as trainees get a (partial) refund for their expenses
  • Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM; 1 week to max. 3 months, transnational), for Early-stage researchers or research staff (mostly PhD students)
  • Conferences organized by the network
  • Dissemination

Evaluation of COST proposals

In the first stage of the evaluation process, the proposals are evaluated by independent experts.
If you would like to be invited as an evaluator, you can register as an expert in e-cost. At "scientific expertise", check the box to be included in the COST Expert database.

In the second stage, the review panels are responsible for the quality of the evaluations and a consensus in the ranking of the proposals.
Review panel members are nominated by their national COST coordinator.
If you are interested to become a member of a review panel, you can send your CV (including your former experience in proposal evaluations on national or European level) to our COST-NCP ( Also mention the scientific domain you are interested in. The procedure is described in this information sheet. The nomination is valid for two years.

Review panels are composed based on the number of submitted proposals and their topics. Not all nominated experts will be invited for all evaluations. The review panel members will evaluate about ten proposals and have a physical meeting of two days inBrussel. They receive a fee of 250 euro.

More information

Read more on the COST website or the FWO website.

For questions or remarks you can contact Margo Baele, EU accountmanager Excellent Science.