COST Structures

COST Association

COST member countries decided to provide a new legal basis for COST activities in the form of an international non-profit making entity called the COST Association. Based in Brussels, the COST Association was created on 19 September 2013. It is devoted to promoting, organising managing and financing practical support for COST activities. Switzerland signed its adhesion to the COST Association on 13 March 2014.

Committee of Senior Officials (CSO)

The Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) is the decision-making body of COST. It is comprised of one or at most two representatives of each member country. The CSO helps to devise the strategy and general policy of COST and makes the decision to approve or deny proposed COST Actions. CSO members act as liaisons between decision-makers at the European level and COST national coordinators (CNCs).

Executive Board

The Executive Board holds all of the managerial and administrative powers of the COST Association. It is comprised of the CSO chairperson and vice-chairperson as well as at least five other CSO delegates. It supervises implementation of decisions, policies and activity plans adopted by the CSO. It also keeps track of the budget, monitors implementation of COST activities and supervises the work of the COST Office.

COST Scientific Committee

The COST Scientific Committee is comprised of thirty-seven internationally recognised scientific experts (one expert per member country and cooperating state). The members of this committee are appointed by the Committee of Senior Officials for a two-year term, which is renewable once. This committee is responsible for ensuring that the COST Action evaluation process runs smoothly. It also prepares a list of new Actions to be submitted to the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) for the final decision.

Review panels

Each COST member country may nominate eighteen scientific experts (three experts per scientific discipline (based on OECD nomenclature): natural sciences, technology and engineering, medical sciences and health, agronomy, social sciences, humanities), for a period of two years. These experts are appointed by national COST coordinators (CNCs). During each open call for proposals, four to six review panels are established, depending on the number and type of proposals received.

Administration de COST (COST Office)

The COST Office assists the Executive Board and the CSO with administrative tasks for the COST Association. It acts as a secretariat for the various bodies within the COST Association. It is therefore responsible for managing open calls for COST Action proposals and makes the necessary arrangements for evaluation of the proposals received. It also sees to it that COST Actions and activities are carried out.

COST national coordinator (CNC)

Each COST member country designates a COST national coordinator (CNC), who may be a member of the CSO. CNCs act as an interface between the scientific community and policymaking bodies. He/she appoints representatives of the member country to scientific committees, decides who will take part in COST Actions and confirms acceptance of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).

Management committees

Each COST Action is coordinated by a management committee comprised of delegates of the countries that have signed up to participate in the given COST Action.

Each management committee coordinates the national research activities carried out by each country taking part in the COST Action. The management committee sees to it that the objectives of the COST Action are reached, based on a rigorous planning schedule.

Financial resources

COST draws its financial resources from:

  • Membership fees paid into the COST fund by member countries of the COST Association
  • Subsidies paid to COST by the European Union
  • Any other authorised source of funding