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COST Transport
Frequently Asked Questions

These are common questions on COST. Most of those questions are answered on the DG Research - COST Secretariat web site

If your question isn't answered please pass it on to the (email removed)

How d oe s COST work ?

COST is a European framework for the co-ordination of nationally funded research. It uses a "bottom-up approach", whereby any country can initiate a COST Action depending on national priorities. A "COST Action" is a European Concerted Research Action based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Governments of the COST Countries wishing to participate in the Action. Each COST Action is identified by a number and a title.

The MoU for implementing a COST Action consists of two parts:

  • Memorandum Proper:

    The Memorandum proper contains, in addition to the number and title of the Action, the agreement of the Signatories to carry out the Action in accordance with the provisions of the present document (hereinafter referrred to as the "Rules and Procedures"), as well as the following specific information and provisions pertaining to the Action:

    • the main objective of the Action.
    • the overall cost of the Action, estimated on the basis of information available during the planning of the Action.
    • the minimum number of Signatories required.
    • the period of time for which the MoU remains in force.
    • any additional provisions of sufficient importance to be included.

  • Technical Annex:

    The Technical Annex contains a description of the objectives, the expected benefits and the envisaged technical content of the Action (including estimated costs and timetables) and defines the work to be undertaken.

COST operates under the authority of the Committee of Senior Officials which approves the MoU for a new COST Action before it is opened for signing.

The MoU takes effect after being signed by at least 5 countries (the MoU may be signed by the Government of any COST Country as well as by the European Commission).

The implementation of a COST Action is supervised and coordinated by a Management Committee comprising two representatives of each signatory country, who ensure the scientific coordination of the Action at national level, and no more than one representative of any institution from a non-COST country, which has been allowed to participate in the Action.

Further information can be found in the document entitled Rules and Procedures for Implementing COST Actions . This document is available for download.

Who can p articipa te in a COST Action ?
  • Any organisation from a COST country, and also the European Commission, can propose an Action and /or take part in an ongoing Action.

    Representatives are nominated by the COST National Coordinator, who is the appointed representative of a COST member country. In practice, the mix of organisations involved is determined by the nature and requirements of the Action, and participation can be arranged very quickly through the COST Transport Secretariat.

  • International organisations and research establishments from non-COST countries can take part in an ongoing Action under certain conditions. Joining is very easy and can be arranged through the COST Transport Secretariat. The main criterion for admitting a non-COST country research establishment or international organisation as a participant in a COST Action is mutual benefit.

Who are the COST member count ries ?

The membership of COST currently includes 35 member countries. These are listed below.

  • The fifteen European Union Member States
  • The following EFTA Members States
    • Iceland
    • Norway
    • Switzerland
  • Central and Eastern European Countries
    • Bulgaria
    • Croatia
    • Czech Republic
    • Estonia
    • FYR Macedonia
    • Hungary
    • Latvia
    • Lithuania
    • Poland
    • Romania
    • Slovakia
    • Slovenia
    • Yugoslavia (Serbia + Montenegro)
  • Other countries
    • Cyprus
    • Malta
    • Turkey
  • Co-operating country
    • Israel

How to p resent a proposal for a new COST Action and to whom ?

Anyone undertaking transport related research in a COST country can set up a proposal for a new COST Transport Action.

A proposal should follow the format outlined below

  • Background
  • Objectives and benefits
  • Scientific programme
  • Organisation and timetable
  • Economic dimension

This is also the structure of an eventual Technical Annex, and therefore forms a mature basis for discussion and finalisation of the terms of reference for a Memorandum of Understanding.

More information on how to prepare the Technical Annex of a COST Action can be found in the document entitled Guidelines for drafting the Technical Annex describing a COST Action . This document is available for download.

Once the proposal is ready it should be sent to the national delegate to the COST Technical Committee on Transport (TCT), together with a list of experts from COST countries supporting the proposal (at least 5 COST countries should be actively involved in the proposal). The proposal should be accompanied by a draft dissemination plan for the results of the Action.

The national delegate will then present the proposal for consideration at the TCT annual proposals selection meeting.

How is a pr oposal selected ?

The national delegate will first check whether the proposal is eligible.

An eligible proposal is a proposal submitted by a network of experts coming from at least 5 COST counries, and having the resources to implement the work described in the proposal.

Once this condition is met, the national delegate will send the eligible proposal to the COST Transport Secretariat, whereupon it will be distributed to the national delegates at the COST Technical Committee on Transport for evaluation.

National delegates will then make their own evaluation on the basis of the criteria listed below.

The selection itself will take place at the TCT annual selection meeting.

Selection criteria:

  • clear, verifiable and feasible objectives;
  • awareness of the State-of-the-Art;
  • progress beyond the State-of-the-Art;
  • technical programme;
  • appraisal of risk;
  • deliverables;
  • size, profile and structure of the network;
  • human and financial resources;
  • European dimension and related benefits;
  • dissemination plan.

Is there a d eadline for submitting a proposal ?

No, for year 2002 a new system has been introduced. Proposers can present their proposal at any time.

Image Last Updated: 02-09-2002

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