COST Glossary


The original COST glossary can be found at:


Biomedicine and Molecular Biosciences – A COST Domain

Bottom-up principle

The initiative of launching a COST Action comes from the European researchers themselves.


COST Grant System – The aim of the COST Grant System is to provide a flexible way of financing COST Action activities in accordance with the COST guidelines on the COST “Financial Instruments”.


Chemistry and Molecular Sciences and Technologies – A COST Domain


COST National Coordinators: the individuals appointed by the COST Member Countries and Cooperating State in charge of confirming the acceptance of the Action Memorandum of Understanding and responsible for nominating the Management Committee members of their country and the evaluators for the Review Panels pool of Experts and for advising and informing the national science and technology communities and institutions in his/her country on all COST related matters.

Collection Dates

Deadlines for submitting proposals through the COST Open Call for Proposals.

COST Action

COST Actions are networks centred around nationally funded research projects in fields that are of interest to at least seven COST countries. The financial support averages EUR 130 000 per year for a four-year period.

COST Association

It was established in September 2013 as an international not-for-profit organisation under Belgian law, integrating the COST governance and executive bodies. It acts as the implementing agent for COST activities and is strictly non-profit making, devoted to the promotion, organisation, management and funding of practical support functions for COST.

COST Countries

COST Countries:

36 Member Countries: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and

One cooperating state: Israel

A cooperating state implies non-voting membership in the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) and in the Scientific Committee as well as full member rights on Action level.

According to the COST rules, participation of Member Countries is based exclusively on a voluntary approach. They participate only in mutually agreed Actions, depending on their interest, relevance of joint research and shorter time needed to achieve envisaged results. The achieved results are the property of all participants, who have to provide full funding for agreed research and concerted activities themselves. COST Member Countries merely endorse the Actions by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, thus increasing their importance and providing moral support.

COST Grant Agreement

A Grant Agreement is a contract between the COST Association and the Grant Holder following a request from the Action Management Committee (MC).

COST Secretariat

The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union provided the secretariat for the CSO and JAF Group until December 2013. All arrangements concluded in the framework of COST and all Memoranda of Understanding were deposited with the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union u until the end of 2013. The Secretary-General was responsible for forwarding any relevant information to the parties concerned.


Committee of Senior Officials – The CSO is composed of two representatives of the COST Member Countries, one of whom is usually the COST National Coordinator. The CSO is the main decision-making body of the COST structure (the General Assembly of the COST Association). It reports directly to the Ministerial Conferences, formulates the general strategy of COST, appoints the Scientific Committee, approves the Actions to be launched and prepares the relevant Memoranda of Understanding to be accepted by the interested countries.

The role of a CSO member is to

Liaise with the ministries and offices of his/her country

Liaise with the COST Association


Domain Committees – DCs were responsible for a particular research domain and were formed by representatives of the COST countries, reporting to the CSO until October 2014. The scientific quality control was their main responsibility. They followed the rigorous evaluation procedures established by the CSO involving the mandatory use of external peer reviewers.


European Research Area – In 2000, the European Union (EU) decided to create the ERA. The objective is to inspire the best talents to enter research careers in Europe, incite industry to invest more in European research – contributing to the EU objective to devote 3% of GDP for research, and strongly contribute to the creation of sustainable growth and jobs.


European Research Council – The main aim of the newly-established body is to stimulate scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, engineers and scholars to be adventurous and take risks in their research.


European Space Agency – the ESA is Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe.


European Science Foundation – The ESF is an association of 75 member organisations devoted to scientific research in 30 European countries. It was established in 1974 and coordinates a wide range of pan-European scientific initiatives.

It was the legal entity of COST between 2003 and 2014, providing the COST Office in Brussels through a specific contract with the European Commission.


Early Stage Researcher – was a term used until 1 January 2015 to define a researcher whose career spun less than 8 years between the date of the PhD/doctorate (or similar experience) and the date of involvement in the COST Action. Periods of career leave have to be added to this time span. According to the COST Rules valid as of 1 January 2015, the corresponding term refers to Early Career Investigators (ECI).

COST approved a specific strategy for early stage researchers.


Earth System Science and Environmental Management – A COST Domain


EUREKA is a pan-European network for market-oriented, industrial Research and Development (R&D).

Executive Board

Part of the COST Association, its role is to supervise and monitor the COST activities implementation and prepare the CSO meetings. The group consists of at least seven members including the CSO President and the Vice-President.


Food and Agriculture – A COST Domain


The EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development.


Forests, their Products and Services – A COST Domain


General Action Support Grant – A COST Action‘s Management Committee may assign up to EUR 2 000 per annum from within an Action budget to the MC chair as grant holder for the general support of the Action management. The GASG is only available for Actions under the Pay-as-you-go system.


Information and Communication Technologies – A COST Domain


Individuals, Societies, Cultures and Health – A COST Domain


Interdisciplinary Science Initiative – The ISIs have the objective to foster rapid response schemes for trans-Domain activities and to prepare to targeted activities. A procedure for ISIs will be developed to optimise the flexibility and the rapid response capacity of COST, as an intergovernmental instrument, to enhance the impact of the Lisbon strategy. In particular Trans-Domain initiatives undertaken by DCs to enhance new fields of collaboration are to be supported. COST is an integral part of the ERA. Thus it interacts not only with the ESF, but also with other actors such as the ERC, the EC, the JRC and EUREKA. ISIs are potential breeders of new scientific communities, around multidisciplinary topics and could also result in new Actions as spin offs from such strategic initiatives.


The former Executive Group of the CSO – The work of the CSO is prepared by an Executive Group, previously referred to as JAF. The group consisted of the President and the Vice-President of the CSO as well as five other delegates from the CSO chosen to represent different COST countries for a maximum duration of three years.

Since the creation of the COST Association in September 2013, the Executive Board has been supervising and monitoring COST activities and their implementation, also preparing CSO meetings. The group consists of at least seven members including the CSO President and the Vice-President.


Joint Research Centre – The JRC is a research based policy support organisation and an integral part of the European Commission.

Lisbon Strategy

The Lisbon Strategy is an action and development plan for the European Union (EU). Its aim is to make the EU “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, and respect for the environment by 2010”. It was set out by the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000.


Management Committee – For each Action a Management Committee, formed by national experts of the signatory countries, is in charge of implementing, supervising and coordinating the activities of the Action.


Memorandum of Understanding – The MoU for a particular COST Action is signed by the governments of the COST countries wishing to participate in the Action upon proposals of their national organisations. Each Memorandum includes a specific Technical Annex defining in detail the contents and the arrangements for the implementation of the Action and related activities, respectively.


Materials, Physics and Nanosciences – A COST Domain

Non-COST country

Every country that is not one of the COST countries.

The COST programme distinguishes between the following non-COST country categories:

  1. Near Neighbour countries: Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, the Russian Federation, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine. For these countries, the COST programme has a particular near neighbour scheme.
  2. Countries from the rest of the world.
Open Call

A one-stage submission process where proposals can be submitted at any time using a dedicated secured online tool (eCOST). There is no deadline, as the Call never closes, but works around two collection dates per year.


Since In COST terms, a “Proposer” is an applicant to the Open Call for Proposals. In other terms, someone or an institution submitting a proposal. Since 1 January 2015, the term is known as “Main Proposer“.

Scientific Committee

It is composed of independent, internationally renowned, high-level experts, one per COST Member Country and Cooperating State, appointed by the CSO.


Short-Term Scientific Missions – These Missions (Inter-laboratory Exchange Visits) aim at strengthening the existing COST Actions by allowing scientists to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST country to foster collaboration, to learn a new technique or to take measurements using instruments and/or methods not available in their own institution/laboratory. They are particularly intended for Early Stage Researchers.


Technical Committee – TCs were abolished in 2005 and replaced by 9 Domain Committees.


Trans-Domain ProposalsTDPs offered scientists fertile ground for future networks across many scientific disciplines, by allowing unusually broad, interdisciplinary proposals to strike across the nine scientific domains currently offered.


Transport and Urban Development – A COST Domain


Working Groups – The scientific work of the Actions is organised through Working Groups.

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