COST is a funding organisation that aims to support researchers to grow their professional research networks and boost their careers. The United Kingdom is one of 39 COST Members, so UK researchers are eligible for funding.
COST Actions are typically made up of researchers from academia, SMEs, public institutions and other relevant organisations or interested parties. It is open to all science and technology fields, including new and emerging fields. COST Actions offer an inclusive, pan-European environment for individuals of all levels of seniority.
In opposition to many EU-funded projects, it is possible to participate in an ongoing project. There are the following options how you can participate in COST Actions:
- As a Management Committee (MC) Member (the MC is responsible for the coordination, implementation and management for an Action)
- As a working group (WG) member (the WG groups perform the tasks required by the Action to fulfil the objectives of the network project plan)
- As a participant in Action activities
There are more than 200 COST Actions open and 70 more networks will be announced in May to replace those closing in 2022.
How to find out more?
A week ago, there was a webinar organised by the UK Research Office (UKRO) dedicated to an Introduction to COST. Policy Officer of COST Association Judith Litjens provided attendees with an overview of COST. On the UKRO event page you can find recording and presentation slides from the webinar. The event outlined the different ways to get involved in a COST action and covered UK participation in COST. Professor David Manlove (University of Glasgow) presented his involvement in three different COST actions.
Some useful tips
BU may not be in a position to lead large multi-national consortia, however BU academics may be invited to join a proposal led by another institution.
Before saying ‘yes’, it may be worth to gather some intelligence and consider if the leading institution and PI has adequate resources and experience in leading such large projects; there are in average 30 participating institution for an action with an average annual budget of almost EUR 140k to be managed. Knowing more about potential lead may, sometimes, save significant PI’s and RDS resources before realising that developed proposal has no chance to get funded.
Often, most rewarding approach may be joining already existing or newly established networks. To participate in activities, follow the offers of the specific action you are interested in.
On COST website you may find more information regarding specific COST networking tools like meetings, workshops and conferences, Short-term Scientific Missions and training schools. Training schools are intensive coaching opportunities focusing on young researchers in particular. According to COST expectations, 20% of funding must be spent for supporting Early Career Researchers.
If you plan to get involved in a COST Action, please get in touch with your RDS Funding Development Officer. Still got questions about COST scheme? Get in touch with me.
From wearable robots to black holes: get to know the 25 COST networks that kicked off this spring
Throughout March and April, events took place for over 600 researchers and specialists from all over the continent, involved in 25 new networks. The 25 kick-offs were a chance for them to meet and set out their networks’ goals and priorities. The Actions will receive an estimated EUR 13 million for the usual timeframe of 4 years, helping them put their research networking activities into practice.
All the Actions include researchers and specialists from a broad range of scientific fields. Almost half of the network leaders (48%) indicated their research covered at least two main OECD fields of science and technology. Roughly half of the Actions (44%) mainly touch on natural sciences and medical and health sciences, while 24% are working in the field of engineering and technology and social sciences. The other Actions cover Agricultural sciences (16%) and humanities (4%).
Some of the topics include:
– personalised therapies for teenagers with mental disorders
– MRI biomarkers for diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease
– wearable robots augmenting human motor functions
– crowdsourcing for language learning
– imaging techniques used in forensic science
– gravitational waves and black holes
Many of the above are relevant to researchers at BU.
The networks are growing, so if you are interested in playing an active role in an Action’s core group, find out more.
If you would like to simply participate in an Action’s networking activities, have a look at the COST networking tools first:
Contact your preferred Action’s Chair for details on how to sign up for such activities in the coming months.
See the whole list of new 25 COST Actions here (scroll down to see the links on this page)
If you are already involved in a COST Action, please contact Emily Cieciura, RKEO’s Research Faciltiator: EU & International, so that we can share your experience.
COST is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe.
As part of the projects, training courses or other events are often arranged. The following are taking place in the next few months:
5th to 7th May : Training school: Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar in Urban Areas – the Sensitive Case of Historical Cities (grants available)
8th to 9th June : Is fascism on the rise? A dialogue between social psychologists and historians on collective memory and the current revival of fascist ideologies
12 June : COST Highlights on Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials – as part of the EuroNanoForum 2015
To find out more, follow the links or for more information about COST, go to the website. You can also register for updates, find out about submitting your own COST application, join an existing action or become a COST expert.
funds pan-European, bottom-up networks of scientists and researchers across all science and technology fields. These networks, called ‘COST Actions’, promote international coordination of nationally-funded research, but mot the research itself. Proposals for actions are now open and those which play a precursor role for other European programmes and/or initiated by early-stage researchers are favoured.
COST is organised in nine broad domains (Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences; Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies; Earth System Science and Environmental Management; Food and Agriculture; Forests, their Products and Services; Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health; Information and Communiation Technologies; Materials, Physics and Nanosciences; Transport and Urban Development). To make a submission, you must have a minimum of five EU countries involved and you should choose one domain where possible or if it is truly interdisciplinary then there is a possibility of a trans-domain proposal application. All info on the current call can be found here
A Call has been launched under the European Co-operation in Science and Technology (COST) programme. You will know from my previous posts, that COST covers the costs of networking activities such as meetings (e.g. travel, subsistence, support for the organiser), conferences, workshops, short-term scientific exchanges, training schools, publications and dissemination activities. To apply, you must register online by 15/2/13 and then apply by 29/3/12.
COST (European Co-operation in Science and Technology) has announced the launch of a pilot evaluation and selection scheme for interdisciplinary proposals. You may remember from my earlier posts on COST, that this is a funding source which offers support for networks centred around nationally funded research projects in fields that are of interest to at least five COST countries. And that it has had a whopping €10m boost lately.
A pilot evaluation and selection procedure for the submission to the Open Call of Trans-Domain Proposals (TDP) will be launched in early 2013. These funding opportunities offer researchers the chance to bid for funding to support future networks across wide interdisciplinary research areas. Currently all domains across the COST Open Call use a two stage submission process; the TDP Pilot will require a single submission of a full proposal, with the aim of making the evaluation and selection procedure faster. This means that if you want to submit a proposal you will need to pre-register; this will most likely be from 15 February 2013 to 29 March 2013 with the Full Proposal to be submitted by 14 June 2013 and the first proposals to be approved in November 2013.
As many of you will know from my previous blogpost (which features also features a simple guide) COST is a Brussels-based intergovernmental network for Cooperation in Science and Technology. It was announced last week that it will receive an extra €10 million from the European Commission.
The Commission had so far withheld part of Cost’s funding for Framework 7. In 2010, the FP7 mid-term evaluation made several criticisms about Cost’s complex governance structure. But the evaluators also said the programme fulfilled its mission nevertheless and should receive “the additional €40m reserved in Framework 7 for Cost”.
In April 2011, the Commission decided to release only €30m for Cost to begin with. In June 2011, Cost launched a revamped strategy aiming in particular to increase efficiency and better demonstrate impact (see RE 10 Nov 11 via link below). The €10m top-up now brings Cost’s overall budget to the planned €250m for 2007-13.
I have always championed conferences as a means for both becoming known within the academic community as well as the opportunities they provide to meeting people with similar research interests and building networks of contacts. It was with these goals in mind I put together a bid to the EU Network Fund to attend the 2012 IPSA (International Political Studies Association) Conference in Madrid on Re-ordering Power: Shifting Boundaries. Happily I was successful and so the planning now starts, and it is important to go to a conference with a plan.
I am already highly involved in the Conference. I am Co-convenor and chair of ‘Political participation in the Web 2.0 era’ panel and Co-convenor and Discussant of ‘Political Marketing: empowering voters or electoral organisation’ panel. I am also presenting a paper on online political marketing and the 2011 Polish election within the panel entitled ‘Civic Participation and Public Sphere’, co-authored with Karolina Koc-Michalska.
IPSA is, as the name suggests, a global organisation connecting scholars of political science from every nation. It is thus a fantastic opportunity to meet and present work to a range of peers. Being involved in convening panels presents even further opportunities for networking. The themes of my panels relate to a number of key questions regarding strategic political communication and voter engagement, in particular how campaigning (during elections or as part of the permanent campaign) and communication by representatives is evolving due to its adaptation for digital media and with what impact. These themes link with work I want to develop for a COST initiative. COST funding streams are designed for building partnerships. The initial stage is to propose an idea under an open call for a network, to be completed by March 30th. If this is successful the idea must then developed and fully costed for the second round, the shortlisted candidates then must present their ideas prior to final acceptance.
The idea for the network is how interactive communication technologies can contribute to democracy. The proposed project is to focus on patterns of influence online, basically how representatives (parliamentarians, lobby group members and media elites) and independent actors and citizens meet online (within social networks, on forums or through use of weblog tools), how they interact and whether influence is unidirectional from elite outwards or multi-directional. The aim is to develop a model of best practice for the use of Web 2.0 tools and platforms for those active in politics who seek to engage with citizens. This initiative is central to new styles of communication emerging in theUSAunder the Obama administration but is also being encouraged by the European Parliament in order to legitimise that legislature as well as by numerous political think tanks. Therefore, there are indications that many official bodies, from legislatures to NGOs, are pushing for greater use of the online environment to reconnect citizens to electoral politics. To be successful this project requires input from a range of scholars from various disciplines including political science, communication studies and ICT development.
The conference will allow, following submission of the initial proposal, to develop ideas, from both theoretical and methodological perspectives, gain firm commitments to collaborate within a network, either one funded through the COSTinitiative or by other means, and apportion tasks required for successful completion of a large bid. Furthermore, the event offers opportunities to meet and set out clear plans for development of the research agenda, identify further potential participants either at the conference or though contacts made there, and co-ordinate future communication. Central to this, particularly while awaiting the outcome of funding bids, will be the creation of an online space to share ideas, literature, calls for papers and general discussion points to maintain communication and so the cohesion and enthusiasm of partners – possibly a Google group of similar space for closed discussion and sharing. That is the plan. I am all set for some network building.
The Green Engineering Camp (don’t worry there are no tents involved) aims to engage early stage researchers and investigators in real-life applications using green ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). Focusing on green engineering in the forest sector, this initiative is intended to boost knowledge transfer and come up with intelligent and innovative ways to make a wide range of forest-related activities more environmentally friendly by the use of ICT.
The initiative focuses in particular on promoting contributions from early stage researchers, female participation and transdisciplinarity. The full Call for Ideas title is: ‘Intelligent Use and Development of ICT to Increase Environmental Efficiency: the Case of Production and Logistics in the Forest Sector.’
With a two stage assessment process, the initial stage (consisting of a one-page outline) is open for submissions until 31 January 2012. Successful applicants will be invited to present their ideas at the Green Engineering Camp (GEC) taking place in Plitvice National Park, Croatia from 2 to 6 July 2012.