COST is based on Actions. These are networks of co-ordinated national research projects in fields, which are of interest to a minimum number of participants (at least 5) from different member states. The Actions are defined by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Governments of the COST states wishing to participate in the Action.
The duration of an Action is generally 4 years.

The increasing number of COST Actions (see below) proves the success of COST within the European Scientific Community.

  • Level of country participation:

The participation of the various countries in COST actions is shown below. In general the participation over the member countries appears to be evenly distributed.

Scientific domains
COST covers a wide range of scientific and technological domains. The present 17 domains and their share of running actions in 2001 are shown below.


COST represents an estimated volume of national funding of more than € 1.5 billion per year.

An average of € 60 000 per Action is available for co-ordination depending on size and activity of the Action. This expenditure represents on average 0.5% of the overall national funding, which shows that COST gives excellent value for money.

This funding is basically used to cover co-ordination costs such as contributions to workshops/conferences, travel costs for meetings, contributions to publications and short term scientific missions of researchers to visit other laboratories.

How to create or join an Action:
In order to create or join an Action, just contact the relevant national COST Co-ordinator for details or study the relevant documents on the COST web-page (see below).