EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 31986Y1003(01)

European cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research (COST) conclusions of the Committee of Senior Officials on the future role of COST

OJ C 247, 3.10.1986, p. 2–3 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT)

In force


European cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research (COST) conclusions of the Committee of Senior Officials on the future role of COST

Official Journal C 247 , 03/10/1986 P. 0002 - 0003

EUROPEAN COOPERATION IN THE FIELD OF SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH (COST)Conclusions of the Committee of Senior Officials on the future role of COST(Adopted at the Senior Officials' meeting held in Vienna on 23 and 24 June 1986)(86/C 247/02)

A. Preliminary considerations COST has shown that it is an important means for promoting European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, both in terms of the number of projects and the quality of its achievements. COST and Community projects have mutually benefited from their complementarity and, in addition, COST activities have distinguished themselves by: - their flexible and adaptable structure untramelled by complicated legal considerations, -their pragmatic approach, thereby assuring that most COST projects emanate from those with a direct interest in achieving international cooperation in specific research an development areas, such as scientists, laboratories, research institutes, industry and national research policy-makers, -the participation of only those countries which are genuinely interested in particular areas of research without any constraints being placed on other COST countries, -enabling research and development cooperation to extend beyond areas covered by the Community and other international bodies. B. The international context 1. One of the determining factors in the future success of COST will be the definition of the specific role of COST in its links with the Community's new Framework programme, in which the complementary role of its activities in relation to Community and other research and development efforts should be underscored. In this respect, COST deserves to be given the full support of the Member States and the Community, especially the Commission, because of its value in achieving a European scientific and technological community. In this connection, the Senior Officials' Committee has committed itself to providing a new impetus to COST on overall policy questions affecting COST. 2. The COST framework is ideally suited to increased and closer research and development cooperation between the EEC and EFTA in the spirit of the Luxembourg declaration. The bilateral arrangements of the Community with EFTA countries and other COST States on scientific and technical cooperation and the multilateral cooperation within the COST framework are complementary efforts. Thus the arrangements for concluding COST agreements in the four categories approved by Council in 1978 will remain unchanged, although detailed procedures might alter if the need should arise. 3. The Eureka initiative appears to have aims distinct from those of COST which can only benefit from the new climate in research and development inspired by the Eureka initiative. Eureka itself might in turn benefit from the experience of European COST cooperation acquired over 15 years, whilst COST, where its actions have industrial applications, might, in a complementary fashion, serve as a starting-point for certain Eureka activities. 4. The initiative taken by European Research Ministers via the European Science Foundation and the Council of Europe to promote mobility amongst scientists and reinforce scientific networks is to be welcomed. In fact, COST, by the very nature of its activities, is already making a significant contribution to scientific networks in its own areas of competence. Close liaison with the Council of Europe and the European Science Foundation should be pursued through the intermediary of the Commission to share experiences and avoid overlaps. C. Objectives of COST The objectives of COST are as follows: 1. The provision of a flexible framework and forum for European cooperation in the field of basic and applied scientific and technical research, including the creation and implementation of research projects of European significance, without any formal constraints being placed on particular research areas to be covered by COST activities. 2. The encouragement and implementation of international research and development activities which correspond to clearly focused needs and which are best conducted through the flexible coordination which COST provides. 3. The promotion of research and development cooperation between industry, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, scientific institutes, universities and national research centres in the area of pre-competitive research, together with an expansion of the interdisciplinary approach to research and development cooperation. 4. The creation of scientific networks and the promotion and encouragement of new scientific talents by their participation in COST projects. D. Means of execution The means of achieving these objectives can be sustained by using present methods and could be improved by: 1. coordination and exchange of information with the Community, Eureka and other bodies at the conception stage of a project; 2. the participation of industry, especially SMEs, and users, in particular public authority bodies, at the design stage of a project where this is felt necessary; 3. the creation of additional technical committees whenever the need for an overall view of an area of research is clearly justified; 4. a more systematic monitoring of ongoing projects and a comprehensive evaluation at the end of projects of long duration; 5. a careful examination and clarification of the funding of COST activities in relation to: - financing at the national level in respect of COST activities in general, especially the financing of activities at the implementation stage, and with special regard to the payment of travel expenses to experts, -financing at the central level used for the promotion of new COST activities, and its links with Community/COST activities; Such an examination might imply the introduction of new methods of financing, while not leading to any immediate increase in the central funding of COST activities; 6. encouraging the circulation of information on COST research and development activities, including the results thereby achieved and, by exchanging information on national programmes, encouraging effective and efficient research and development cooperation in achieving solutions to complex problems; 7. a significant increase, especially at the national level, in publicity activities covering both COST in general and specific COST projects aimed, as appropriate, at the public at large, scientific experts, policy-makers in national administrations, and industrial circles, especially SMEs; 8. an examination and possible restructuring of the decision-making processes of COST, in respect of both national and Community procedures, in order to shorten time lags.