COST - European Cooperation in Science and Technology
Pan-European networks for the coordination of research activities
The funding programme COST supports scientific cooperation and coordination throughout Europe.
COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding programme that encourages networking of scientific and technological research activities throughout Europe and beyond. COST is funded mainly through the European Framework Programmes.
Switzerland is one of the founding countries of COST and a full member of the COST Association. Thanks to this status, researchers in Switzerland are entitled to participate in COST Actions or to coordinate them and submit applications for new Actions. Thus, scientists based in Switzerland are fully eligible for all COST activities and for reimbursement of their related expenses.
Researchers and innovators affiliated with any public or private institution, in all disciplines of science and technology and at any stage of their career can participate.
By means of bottom-up and open scientific networks, known as COST Actions, COST supports networking activities, such as meetings, conferences, short-term exchanges, training schools or dissemination of scientific knowledge. Funding for research projects associated with COST Actions is provided by national sources, such as the SNSF.
COST follows three strategic priorities:
- Promoting and spreading excellence
- Fostering interdisciplinary research for breakthrough science
- Empowering and retaining young researchers and innovators
Through COST Actions, COST aims to strengthen Europe’s capacity to address scientific, technological and societal challenges. The Actions involve on average scientists from 28 different full or cooperating members of the COST Association. Actions last 4 years and each receive funding of about EUR 130’000 per year for networking activities and collaboration.
The following options for participation are available in the framework of COST:
- Participating in an ongoing COST Action
- Submitting to COST a proposal for a new COST Action
- Submitting to the SNSF a proposal for a research project associated with an ongoing COST Action in the call for COST Projects in Switzerland
Participating in COST - 3 possibilities
Participating in an ongoing COST Action
The COST website features a database of all COST Actions with a short description, a list of members in the Management Committee (MC), a list of members in the Working Groups and a Memorandum of Understanding (containing the proposal for the Action). To participate in an ongoing COST Action, you can first contact participants in the Action for further information about the planned activities.
Participation in a Working Group of an Action can be decided directly with the Working Group leaders of the Action and there is no need to contact the SNSF. For new COST Actions, please follow the steps described in the document below “Document on the steps to follow to become a member of a Working Group”. For former COST Actions, please contact directly the group responsible for the Action.
For each COST Action, two Management Committee member positions are available. To participate in the Management Committee of an Action, please follow the steps below:
- Contact the Chair of the Action to inform her/him of your interest in participating in the Management Committee. Ask the Chair to confirm the possibility of your participating in the Action’s Management Committee.
- Contact the COST national coordinators (CNCs) at the SNSF (email@example.com), so that the SNSF can nominate you in a straightforward procedure. To launch the nomination procedure, please send your CNCs at the SNSF the following documents via firstname.lastname@example.org: your CV, a statement of interest describing your motivation and your intended contribution to the Action (template provided below), and the confirmation obtained from the Chair of the Action.
No statement of interest or confirmation by the Chair of the Action is needed from proposers (applicants) of the COST Action.
Submitting to COST a proposal for a new COST Action
The proposal for a new Action needs to be jointly prepared by scientists or innovators from at least seven different COST full member or cooperating states, of which at least half need to be inclusiveness target countries (ITCs or widening countries). Researchers, engineers and scholars from any legal entity (institute of technology, university, university of applied sciences, research centre and company, in particular SME, and legal entity such as NGO) based in a COST full member or cooperating state are eligible to apply for a COST Action. The list of states can be found on the COST website (see link below). Switzerland is a COST full member state and Swiss-based scientists are fully eligible for all COST activities.
Proposals for new Actions can be submitted to the COST open Call via e-COST. Submissions are collected every 8-9 months and are evaluated according to the following criteria: 1) impact, implementation and excellence, 2) COST Inclusiveness policy, 3) equality in terms of early career involvement and gender balance policy and 4) balanced Actions’ portfolio and interdisciplinarity. Full participation requirements can be found in the COST regulations, see the link to the COST open call for new Actions below.
What the SNSF offers: The COST national coordinators (CNCs) act as national contact points (NCPs) for COST and provide information at the national level about COST. In Switzerland, the SNSF has this role and offers, for instance, assistance in the preparation of proposals for new Actions.
Submitting to the SNSF a project associated with an ongoing COST Action
The SNSF organises yearly calls for COST research projects in Switzerland associated with recently approved COST Actions. Researchers based in Switzerland and actively participating in a COST Action can apply for the funding of a research project for up to four years for a budget of up to 90,000 francs per year. Since COST research projects often cannot start at the same time as the associated COST Actions, the projects can continue beyond the end of the associated Action. The participation requirements for COST research projects are very similar to those of the SNSF’s project funding scheme; see the call document and the Funding Regulations of the SNSF below.
COST Actions are open for researchers:
- at universities, in the ETH domain, at universities of applied sciences, research institutions, public and private research organisations
- from all disciplines
- at all career stages
- with original and innovative ideas.
You can find the participation requirements of the SNSF COST call in the call document and the funding regulations of the SNSF.
Participate in a COST Action
As member of the Management Committee (MC):
Contact the SNSF at email@example.com and submit them your statement of interest (template provided below), CV and confirmation from the Chair of the Action.
As member of a Working Group:
Please go directly to www.cost.eu and fill in the form to become a Working Group member. See this document “Document on the steps to follow to become a member of a Working Group” for a detailed description of the steps to be taken.
For former COST Actions, please contact directly the group responsible for the Action.
Project submission of COST research projects
The SNSF offers a yearly call for research projects associated with ongoing COST Actions. All applications must be submitted via the mySNF platform ("Programmes" - "COST"). Please note that the opening of a new mySNF account can take up to five days. Please read the call document for more information.
Evaluation procedure of COST research projects
The proposals are evaluated by a panel consisting of members of the SNSF Research Council and other experts. All applications that fulfil the formal criteria of the call will be reviewed by national and international experts.
Documents and websites
- COST website
- COST website with the member states of COST
- COST open call for new Actions
- COST database of all Actions
- Video on tips for submitting a winning COST Action proposal
- Template "Statement of interest" seeking nomination for the management committee of an Action (Word)
- Document on the steps to follow to become a member of a Working Group (PDF)
- Call document for COST projects in Switzerland (PDF)
- Evaluation form – COST (PDF)
- SNSF Funding Regulations and General Implementation Regulations
- COST projects in Switzerland
- Website 50 years of COST
- Video: 50 years of COST
- Video: Tips for submitting a winning COST Action proposal
Get involved in the new COST Actions starting in 2023
The COST Committee of Senior Officials evaluated 378 applications for new COST Actions and selected 70 of them. Swiss applicants are part of 38 networks of scientists among the supported Actions.
The COST Actions listed in the table below offer international networking opportunities and are now open for participation.
Newest COST Actions