Bratislava (22 September 2016) - A new strategy for COST i (European Cooperation on Science and Technology) was the main topic of discussion at the COST Ministerial Conference. Peter Plavčan, the Minister for Education, Science, Research and Sport, Ángeles Rodríguez-Peña, COST President and Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation took part in the conference alongside delegates from the 36 member states and one associate member of COST.
The delegates discussed, in particular, measures that could be taken to encourage young researchers, to increase the attractiveness of scientific careers, to promote mobility among researchers and to support investment in the development of human potential. “COST represents a very important tool for Slovak young researchers, too, because it affords them the opportunity of international collaboration. This has become a priority of the current Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union," said Peter Plavčan.
Ministers and deputy ministers of the COST member countries also discussed gender balance and the inclusion of scientifically underperforming countries in the programme. They also expressed support for scientific events linking COST to other initiatives and EU i programmes, and spoke out in favour of reinforcing the presence of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The COST Ministerial Conference in Bratislava stated that its member states were committed to fulfilling the COST's mission and objectives, which include excellence and inclusiveness, international cooperation and collaboration with the industrial sector.
Delegates adopted the COST 2016 Ministerial Conference Declaration, confirming that COST member states would continue to provide political support even after Horizon 2020 comes to an end and stressing COST’s significance within the European Research Area. At the same time, they stated that they expect preparation of the future framework programme to be linked to a discussion on opportunities for strengthening COST's standing.
COST is an intergovernmental organisation covering the European continent which, over its existence, has enabled almost a half million scientists to collaborate. This year COST carried out more than 300 different projects, with the involvement of around 45,000 researchers in Europe and beyond, one-third of them young scientists. Currently, COST receives a significant part of its budget from the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020.