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ANNUAL REPORT 2014

A story of diversity


Contents What is COST? Message from the President

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Introduction by the COST Association Director Highlights - 2014 in review

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11-31

10

5 32

COST Actions - Success Stories Reconstructing past climate to model the future

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Preservation, conservation and distribution of high quality and safe food

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Plant breeding and genetically modified trees

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European audiences within a changing mass-media environment

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Quality of multimedia experience

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Nanoscience and its implications for the future

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New developments in glass science & technology

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Sharing scientific and technical resources in computational spectroscopy

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Time perception

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A story of inclusiveness and mobility: interview with Professor Kiril Sotirovski


Targeted Networks

34-41

Gender, Science, Technology and Environment – genderSTE Next Generation of Young Scientists: Towards a Contemporary Spirit of R&I – Sci-GENERATION

35 37

Building a Network of Administrative Excellence – BESTPRAC

39

Capacity Building in Forest Policy and Governance in Western Balkan Region - CAPABAL

41

Impact Assessment

97%

42-48

Networking and network building Capacity building

Impact on structuring and agenda setting Impact on wider economy and society

SSTM participants of participants in reportedscientific career short-term missions reported development due to the experiencing career support received development

Conferences and Events

COST in the headlines COST in numbers

57 60

49-56

43 44 45 48


What is COST?

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OST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a pan-European intergovernmental framework. Its mission is to enable breakthrough scientific and technological developments leading to new concepts and products and thereby contribute to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation capacities. It allows researchers, engineers and scholars to jointly develop their own ideas and take new initiatives across all fields of science and technology, while promoting multi- and interdisciplinary approaches. COST aims to encourage the greater integration of less research-intensive countries in the knowledge hubs of the European Research Area. The COST Association, an International not-for-profit association under Belgian Law, incorporates the management, governance and administrative functions required for the framework to operate.

How? COST does not fund research itself, but provides support for networking activities carried out within COST Actions. This way, it leverages nationally funded research. COST invites researchers throughout Europe to submit proposals for COST Actions through a continuous Open Call. Thanks to their networking tools, these Actions allow scientists to develop their ideas by sharing them with their peers and thereby give impetus to their research, career and innovation.

Action networking tools TRAINING SCHOOLS Opening doors for young researchers’ careers

SHORT-TERM SCIENTIFIC MISSIONS (STSMs) Fostering cooperation by giving scientists the opportunity to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST Country

COST Action Funding Average funding totals €130,000 and is provided via an annual grant agreement.

WORKSHOPS

CONFERENCES

DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES

COST Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy The policy is tailored to foster scientific excellence throughout Europe by providing cooperation opportunities for researchers, engineers and scholars from 19 less research-intensive COST Member Countries. They are also called Inclusiveness Target Countries, which COST helps connect to the knowledge hubs of the European Research Area.


Who?

Geographical coverage

35

19

COST Member Countries

COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (out of 35)

Researchers, engineers and scholars from universities, public and private institutions, NGOs, industry and SMEs Particular emphasis is placed on the COST Inclusiveness Target Countries with a view to expanding participation. Researchers from Near Neighbour Countries and International Partner Countries can also participate in a COST Action on the basis of mutual benefit.

1

COST Cooperating State

Norway Iceland Sweden

Finland

United Kingdom

Estonia Latvia

Denmark

Ireland

Lithuania

Netherlands Poland

Germany

Belgium Czech Republic France

Slovakia

Hungary

Romania Bulgaria

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Luxembourg Italy Switzerland Spain Portugal

COST INCLUSIVENESS TARGET COUNTRIES

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.

Austria

Serbia Croatia

Turkey Cyprus

Slovenia fYR Macedonia Malta

COST NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES

Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Russia, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Israel Greece

COST INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES

Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, USA and Uruguay.


COST’s achievements are down to the many individuals and their aspirations from across Europe and beyond. Their outstanding accomplishments and inspiring testimonials of their involvement in COST Actions clearly demonstrate that the networking concept proposed by COST is making a difference.


Message from the President

COST at a turning point

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014 was a year of transition full of essential milestones for COST. Following the creation of the COST Association in 2013, the Member Countries assumed direct responsibility for the governance and implementation of COST Association activities on 1 May 2014. Though the COST Association, an international non-profit association under Belgian law, benefits from COST’s intergovernmental nature, it is designed to serve as a leaner and more cost-effective structure. We have been transforming COST so that it can continue playing its key role in supporting inclusive science and technology networking throughout Europe. We have a new scientific organisation and have modified our evaluation and selection procedure accordingly. Our aim is to identify and fund networks demonstrating considerable potential that are able to deliver exceptional results enhancing the well-being of civil society and stimulating industry. To ensure a smooth implementation, the COST Committee of Senior Officials decided to exceptionally combine the fall 2014 and spring 2015 collection dates.

We welcomed the official launch of the European Union’s new research and innovation framework programme, Horizon 2020. In July 2014, COST signed a seven-year Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Commission. The Agreement targets two major challenges posed by Horizon 2020, namely “Europe in a changing world” and “Spreading excellence and widening participation”. In both cases, COST is referred to as a key contributor as it fosters bottom-up, researcherdriven networks and broadens participation by promoting an inclusiveness policy that facilitates researchers’ access to leading knowledge hubs across Europe. On behalf of the Committee of Senior Officials, I would like to thank all those who contributed to making COST what it is today and who helped us secure this smooth transition for our strengthened position in light of Horizon 2020.

However, COST’s achievements are ultimately down to the many individuals and their aspirations from across Europe and beyond. Their outstanding accomplishments and inspiring testimonials of their involvement in COST Actions clearly demonstrate that the networking concept proposed by COST is making a difference. As such, an interesting feature of this 2014 report is the special focus on individuals and their testimonials, highlighting the added value of COST networks. I firmly believe in COST’s potential to nurture many new ideas and long-lasting relationships, which will benefit and build on Europe’s research and innovation capacities.

Dr Ángeles Rodríguez-Peña


The launch of the COST Association was indeed a major step towards simplification, opening the door to the streamlined, efficient and researcher-oriented management of COST activities.


Introduction by the COST Association Director

A new start: striving for user-oriented management 2014 saw exceptional challenges and changes, proving itself to be a crucial year in COST’s history. It was a year that involved significant work, during which we strived to always best serve Europe’s research communities and build on the strengths that have underpinned our success: excellence, openness and inclusiveness. The new COST Association signed the seven-year Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) and the first one-year Specific Grant Agreement (SGA) with the European Commission in July 2014. The €300 million FPA has set out the strategic Action Plan as defined by the Committee of Senior Officials, the COST governing body, for the next seven years, under Horizon 2020, while the SGA describes the work to be done in order to implement that strategy and sets the annual budget.

The launch of the COST Association was indeed a major step towards simplification, opening the door to the streamlined, efficient and researcheroriented management of COST activities. It helped us create the basis for a modern, innovative funding administration ready to serve researchers’ needs, responding to pressing societal challenges and policy. With this in mind, we prepared the transition with the European Science Foundation, COST’s former implementing agent, and successfully transferred and integrated the COST Office within the COST Association. At the same time, we commissioned an independent Impact Assessment and a Customer Satisfaction Survey. The former demonstrated the added value that COST activities generate for the European Research Area in terms of the results achieved and impact made, whereas the latter was intended to help to continuously improve the support we offer to Europe’s science and technology communities.

Both exercises involved almost 8,500 respondents from all categories of COST stakeholders, particularly those researchers, engineers and scholars involved in the 277 COST Actions launched over the 2006-2010 period. We are pleased to see that over 80% of Action Chairs and participants are satisfied with COST’s activities, tools and services. Furthermore, 97% of participants in Short-Term Scientific Missions believe that their involvement in COST improved their career opportunities. The Impact Assessment concluded that the most important benefits delivered by COST can be observed in network building and capacity development. These activities correspond to the core mission of COST. COST indeed offers a unique framework that connects researchers, engineers and scholars from universities, research organisations and industry (particularly SMEs) with representatives from the social society and policy makers through research and innovation. By doing so, it bridges the gap between disciplines, increasing researchers’ mobility across the continent and fostering consortia across all science and technology fields. We will continue our efforts to achieve our ambitious goals: nurturing new ideas while paving the way to innovation and integration throughout Europe.

Dr Monica Dietl


Highlights 2014 in review

DECEMBER The Committee of Senior Officials decided on a new scientific organisation. The former organisation, which was divided up into nine science and technology domains, has been replaced by a new organisation striving to guarantee a wholly open and bottom-up approach by establishing a single Scientific Committee. The new procedure is designed to boost efficiency and deal with current challenges, such as interdisciplinarity, in response to trends and changing needs within scientific and technological communities.

2014 marked a turning point for COST. More than ever before, COST put all its efforts in developing a networking concept that will be a strong contribution in avoiding a two-speed development among its Member Countries, whilst supporting the full implementation of the Innovation Union. COST continued to organise its annual Open Call collection dates. However, given that the new Action Proposal, Submission, Evaluation, Selection and Approval procedure has been under discussion, the Open Call collection date scheduled for September 2014 has, in a departure from the normal procedure, been combined with the spring 2015 one. COST has taken important steps to achieve its goals and the Horizon 2020 objectives by signing a Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Commission. This Framework Partnership Agreement covers the full initiative over the coming seven years in order to guarantee the completion of the strategic Action Plan within the context of the agreement. As such, COST will be funded by the European Union research budget through Horizon 2020. The Framework Partnership Agreement foresees a budget of €300 million for a period of seven years. COST Member Countries pledged to dedicate half of the funds to activities involving researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries. COST aims to increase such researchers’ participation in COST Actions and activities.

SEPTEMBER Transfer of ESF-COST Office to the COST Association, concluded between the ESF and the COST Association

JULY Specific Grant Agreement, a description of the first year’s work plan, concluded with the European Commission

JULY JUNE

MAY

MARCH COST Open Call 764 preliminary proposals found eligible in the nine domains

The COST Association, a dedicated legal entity integrating governance, management and support functions to best serve the COST Mission, became operational

COST 2014 Impact Assessment and Customer Satisfaction Survey results published

Framework Partnership Agreement, a strategic roadmap for the next seven years, concluded with the European Commission


Success stories

While COST has undergone profound changes over the course of its more than 40-year history, its commitment to fostering inclusiveness and cooperation among Europe’s research communities has remained steadfast. The framework’s successes are down to the work of many researchers, engineers and scholars from across Europe and beyond. So what better way to demonstrate what COST has achieved than through success stories and testimonials from the people involved in the COST Actions?


Success Stories

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Reconstructing past climate to model the future INTegrating Ice core, MArine and TErrestrial records - 60,000 to 8,000 years ago (INTIMATE)

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ast climate and environmental data are critical tests of global and regional climate models. While there are a small number of high profile records, such as the Greenland ice core records, which are vital sources of information on the dynamic nature of past climate change, abrupt climate variability needs to be fully explored, focusing on Europe and the North Atlantic. This COST Action aimed to develop common protocols and methods to reconstruct abrupt and extreme climate changes over the past 60,000 to 8,000 years by facilitating the INTegration of Ice-core, MArine and Terrestrial palaeoclimate records. The main goal was to better understand the mechanisms and impact of change and thereby reduce the uncertainty of future predictions. The network facilitated interdisciplinary scientific cooperation, between earlystage researchers and established scientists, in order to foster European research capacity.

Understanding the future of a changing climate depends largely on interpreting climate change events in the past. What happens if the climate changes abruptly, as has happened many times in history?

Significant achievements PUBLICATIONS

The Action produced more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in special issues of Quaternary Science Reviews and Quaternary International, and a significant number of papers were also published in journals.

INNOVATIVE AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY RESEARCH

The network brought together researchers from different palaeo-archival disciplines (marine, terrestrial, ice) into situations where they had to deal with the advantages and drawbacks of their own and others’ datasets and seek innovative ways to overcome synchronisation issues. Climate modellers were fully involved and the established network allowed them to better understand the records they were using as input or as test beds for their ideas.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS

The 49 short-term scientific missions and 3 training schools organised by the Action have given many young researchers a chance to learn new skills in another laboratory and have thus cemented future working relationships.

50

peer-reviewed papers


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Success Stories Reconstructing past climate to model the future

Dissemination activities • The Action was particularly successful in promoting and disseminating its objectives to scientific communities as well as to the general public. • Article featuring the INTIMATE project in the International Innovation magazine. Read the book here

MORE THAN MUD What can we learn about the past climate from lake sediments? This inspiring short movie about international climate scientists was produced in 2013 in collaboration with the Film University Babelsberg (HFF). The filmmakers accompanied the researchers at Hämelsee (Germany) during their time at the INTIMATE Field School and portrayed the diverse personalities of the people there while exploring what motivated them and their research. The Training School brought together a variety of experts and young researchers from all over Europe in order to investigate lake sediments from a lake in northern Germany using different analytical methods. The aim was to understand how the environment responded to climate changes that took place over 10,000 years ago.

The socio-economic benefits of the INTIMATE Action • A better understanding of past climate change has raised researchers’ confidence in projections of future change. This clearly plays an important role in avoiding dangerous climate change and unnecessary costs associated with unconstrained projections. • A number of national projects have been based on the Actions, and proposals for EU funding have arisen as a result of this successful network. • Owing to its success, the Action has also decided to continue operating as a network through individually funded and smaller scale activities. • Other successful results of the Action include the agreement on a chronology reporting protocol, procedures for analysing volcanic tephra layers, and the extension of the INTIMATE event stratigraphy that provides a detailed template for abrupt climate changes in Greenland throughout the most recent glacial period.


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Success Stories Reconstructing past climate to model the future

In Focus By way of example, Dr Irka Hajdas, a Swiss Management Committee member, received a project grant to carry out the radiocarbon dating of well-preserved peat sections and associated bones from key locations in the Swiss Alpine foreland to track pre-LGM climate changes. The aim of the TiMIS (Timing of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) Climate Change Recorded in Switzerland) workshop was aligned with the main objectives of the INTIMATE Action, focusing on reconstructing the timing of events that accompanied LGM ice advance and making it possible to compare climate evolution in the north and south of the Alps.

The workshop brought together more than 20 scientists, many of them young researchers, who study paleoclimatology and glacial chronology in the north and south of the Alps. The workshop provided a forum for extensive discussion and comparison of paleoclimate records obtained from geomorphology, sedimentology and paleobotany. An excursion around Zurich presented an opportunity to see locations that are key to limiting LGM ice build-up and decay in the northern Swiss Alpine foreland. Dr Irka Hajdas, Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Leading the INTIMATE Action was a rewarding experience. COST funding allowed us to put together a strong team to address key issues about how to best reconstruct past climates from a wide range of archives and to advance scientific knowledge. We clearly focused on involving young researchers in all aspects of the work and I believe that we have created many new opportunities for cooperation and training that will have a positive influence on hundreds of up-and-coming researchers. Dr Sune Olander Rasmussen, Action Chair


Success Stories Reconstructing past climate to model the future

COST ACTION ES0907 2010-2014 CHAIR Dr Sune Olander Rasmussen (DK) VICE CHAIR Prof. Hans RENSSEN (NL) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES Belarus INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES Argentina, Australia, New Zealand WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB

“The INTIMATE training school at Saint Anne Lake, Romania was a great experience for all involved. To be surrounded by so many experts in a friendly setting so early in our careers allowed us to learn so much and receive valuable advice, as well as getting to know some of our future colleagues in a sociable way. It was also really good for trainees from both Western and Eastern Europe to meet each other and share experiences and ideas, and to break down geographical and cultural barriers. Rachel Avery and James Fielding, Palaeoceanography and Palaeoclimate Research Group, University of Southampton

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Success Stories

Preservation, conservation and distribution of high quality and safe food Eco-sustainable food packaging based on polymer nanomaterials

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his COST Action created an open network at regional, national and international level, involving 350 participants from 33 countries, including top experts, with a view to investigating the extensive use of nanotechnology in the field of polymer nanomaterials for food packaging (PNFP). Leading research and industrial groups looked at the complete life cycle of the PNFP, identifying at each stage the barriers (regarding research and technology, safety, standardisation, trained workforce and technology transfer) that prevented the complete successful development of PNFP and indicating the strategies to proceed.

One important function of food packaging is to prevent food from deteriorating, extend shelf life, and both maintain and increase the quality and safety of the packaged food. Over the past few decades, the use of polymers as food packaging materials has increased enormously due to their advantages over other traditional materials.

The short-term scientific missions were very rich and interactive, growing year by year. It included 33 participants from 18 countries, all of them contributing both as host and participants. Based on these missions, many joint papers have been drafted and several applications for national and international projects have been approved. Prof. Cornelia Vasile, Petru Poni Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Iaşi, Romania I would like to sincerely thank all those responsible for making it possible to carry out experiments in connection with COST Action FA0904 ‘Eco-sustainable Food Packaging based on Polymer Nanomaterials’ by using the extremely advanced material technical facilities of the Department of Industrial Design Engineering, including the gas permeability tester, X-ray diffractometer and atomic microscopy instrument. Ms Anamaria Sdrobis, Petru Poni Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Iaşi, Romania


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Success Stories Preservation, conservation and distribution of high quality and safe food Significant achievements COST ACTION FA0904

DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES

One of the greatest achievements was the publication of the book ’Eco-sustainable polymer nanomaterials for food packaging’ with contributions from 35 authors participating in the Action, including 10 Management Committee members from 12 countries. The Action activities greatly piqued the interest of international communities in the field of PNFP. The Action’s aim and results were selected for further dissemination in national and scientific magazines and international newspapers (e.g. The Guardian, 27 April 2013 , http://www.theguardian.com/whatis-nano/nanotechnology-small-food-for-thought). The Action was selected as a successful network to be presented at the COST Science Night 2014 – How S&T Networks Impact Tomorrow’s Europe.

EXTENDED NETWORKS, TRANSFER OF RESULTS AND INFLUENCE ON AGENDA SETTING

The UN IAEA (https://www.iaea.org/) invited Dr Clara Silvestre, the Action Chair, to serve as European representative in the development of a 2012 coordinated research project on the ‘Application of Radiation Processing Technology in the Development of Advanced Packaging Materials for Food Products’, together with representatives from Asia, Canada and USA.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS

Nearly 150 early-stage researchers were involved in the Action’s activities - they established an active intergroup on ‘Making the Science of Future in PNFP’. The Action organised 37 short-term scientific missions on basic and applicative science in PNFP. Young scientists also had the chance to attend the first International Conference in Polymers with special focus on early-stage researchers.

GENDER BALANCE

The Action registered an excellent balance in terms of female participation (almost 50%).

SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS

The Action generated excellent scientific knowledge, emphasising that post-processing protection through innovative packaging based on nanotechnology is a groundbreaking and valuable way to ensure food safety, reduce postharvest losses and facilitate international trade in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.

FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS, NETWORK’S SUSTAINABILITY

29 spin-off projects resulted from this COST network, being funded by national and international programmes with a total budget of more than €10 million, showing the considerable ability of those involved in the Action to raise research funds as well as demonstrating the validity of the topic and the leverage effect of COST networks.

SME PRESENCE

The Action sparked interest among industrial groups, involving 13 companies. The joint COST-EUREKA science event on ‘Food Packaging Innovations’ (4-5 October 2010, Graz, Austria) was mainly dedicated to SMEs, fostering interaction between academia and the private sector .

2010-2014 CHAIR Dr Clara Silvestre (IT) VICE CHAIR Prof. Rumiana Kotsilkova (BG)

Read the book here

The Action demonstrated that achieving valuable results is fundamentally contingent on the synergistic combination of multidisciplinary teams and complementary high-level skillsets with networks of top experts sharing expertise and working together, irrespective of their institute, company or country.

29

spin-off projects

COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES Algeria INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Unites States of America WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB

€10 million budget


18

Success Stories

Plant breeding and genetically modified trees Biosafety of forest transgenic trees: improving the scientific basis for safe tree development and implementation of EU policy directives

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OST Action FP0905 provided a platform that responded to the urgent need to compile, collate and analyse available knowledge related to GM trees. Its main objective was to evaluate and substantiate scientific data relevant to the biosafety of GM trees. This proved to be particularly important, as most of the consensus documents on biosafety issues and approvals of transgenic organisms to date have been assembled for crop plants, not for forest trees. With the help of an interdisciplinary pan-European network of scientists in the fields of plant biology and genetics, forest ecology, policy and economics, the Action contributed to the scientific basis underlying future EU policy, regulation and safety assessment of GM trees.

The Genetic Modification of Trees (GMT) is a new technological approach striving to improve production and processing properties of trees. Developed traits include increased pest resistance and improved postharvest characteristics of biomass and biofuel.

This Action can be used on a worldwide basis. It has brought together scientists with different specialties and knowledge, not only from Europe, but also from the USA, China, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. It also helped us explain to the general public why GM trees are important. Cristina Vettori, Action Chair


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Success Stories Plant breeding and genetically modified trees

Significant achievements INNOVATIVE ACTIVITIES

The Action was highly innovative, being the first Action in COST history to deal with transgenic forest trees. It was also a well-timed, relevant project, considering the current European debate on the cultivation and commercialisation of GM plants, as well as the increasing role attributed to engineered crops and trees in mitigating climate change and environmental pollution.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS

The Action drew together early-stage researchers (1/3 of participants) as well as female researchers (43%) providing them with state-of-the-art insights into techniques for GM plants.

DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES

The participation of the Action in the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) 2012 ensured a high level of awareness. Thus, as part of Europe’s largest general science meeting, the Action organised a session entitled ‘Planting the Seeds of Genetically Modified Trees’.

TRANSFER OF RESULTS

Scientific knowledge was promoted through 15 joint publications and 4 chapters as a joint publication in Springer eBook. The Action addressed the issue of biosafety for transgenic trees in the January issue of Nature Biotechnology (http://www. nature.com/nbt/journal/v30/n1/full/nbt.2078.html). The results of the Action helped improve EU knowledge and provided starting points for the socio-economic indicators to be included in the cost-benefit analyses related to transgenic trees.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

More than 140 scientists from 26 COST Countries, 1 Near Neighbour Country and 7 International Partner Countries were involved in this project.

Genetically modified plant technology is now emerging. This technology is likely to be used in combination with traditional plant breeding techniques to develop novel, GM tree varieties. The goals of such breeding may be improved by a mass production, pest control or better quality traits. For these products to be approved in Europe, they will have to undergo extensive risk assessment as laid out in the guidance documents produced by the European Food Safety Authority.

43%

women researchers

COST ACTION FP0905 2010-2014 CHAIR Dr Cristina VETTORI (IT) VICE CHAIR Dr Matthias FLADUNG (DE) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES Albania INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, South Africa, USA WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB


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Success Stories

European audiences within a changing mass-media environment Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies

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ith 33 participating countries and over 300 individual participants, This COST Action encouraged and coordinated research efforts on key developments involving European audiences within a changing media and communication environment, identifying their complex interrelationships with the cultural and political aspects of European societies. These COST network activities achieved significant progress regarding the understanding of audiences within the context of a radically altered media environment, taking into account important changes associated with social media and the widespread adoption of new uses. The Action managed to produce results that are important for the scientific and education community, policy makers and regulatory bodies, media-oriented NGOs and citizens’ initiatives, as well as media and communication professionals. The Action addressed four interconnected but distinct areas of European audiences, through four different working groups: 1

2 3

4

New media genres, media literacy and trust in the media Audience interactivity and participation The role of media and ICT use in evolving social relationships Audience transformations and social integration

For approximately two decades, audiences have seen their media and communication environment undergo radical changes. Nowadays, ‘web 2.0’ tools (e.g. blogs, social network platforms) together with mobile information and communication technologies (ICT) reinforce and extend these developments, though further changes are also in the making.

AUDIENCE RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES The most striking result was that we were able to gather writings and studies from different parts of Europe, including Eastern and Southern Europe. Liina Puustinen, University of Helsinki, Finland

MEDIA LITERACY In this digital age, studying audiences that include children and young people is crucial for the future. Sonia Livingstone, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

Why did the COST Action matter to the participants?

52%

A high percentage of female scholars were involved in the Action’s activities

300+ Participants

The Action was like a jigsaw puzzle. It was made of many different, but interconnected initiatives that contributed to its success. What I will remember most is the high commitment of so many researchers participating as working group chairs or vice chairs, task force leaders, liaison officers, coordinators, and working group members – all of them contributing to the revitalisation of media audience research through different means in an openminded and constructive spirit. Geoffroy Patriarche, Action Chair, Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Belgium


Success Stories European audiences within a changing mass-media environment

COST ACTION IS0906 2010-2014 CHAIR Prof. Geoffroy Patriarche (BE) VICE CHAIR Prof. Helena Bilandzic (DE) WORKING GROUP LEADERS Prof. Kim Christian Schrøder, Prof. Nico Carpentier, Prof. Frauke Zeller, Prof. Cristina Ponte GRANT HOLDER OFFICER Emilie Vossen COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, fYR Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel COST INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES New Zealand, USA WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB

Significant achievements DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES Nine open conferences and workshops were organised. The Action contributed to 17 panels held during external conferences. Special issues appeared in highly regarded journals, such as the International Communication Gazette, Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research and The Communication Review, Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies TRANSFER OF RESULTS There have been several spin-off European projects during the Action’s life. First of all, five European empirical research projects have emerged within the COST Action: ‘Audiences across media’, ‘Twitter and the public sphere’, ‘Global protests’ and ‘Cross-media news repertoires’. All of them are continuing after COST funding comes to an end. Secondly, the COST Action was one of the driving forces behind the Consortium on Emerging Directions in Audience Research - CEDAR, which aims to foster collaboration among audience researchers in the early years of their career. On the basis of working group meetings in Lisbon and Zagreb (2011), the Action built up a research agenda that not only captures the existing research projects in which the members were involved, but also, the directions the audience research should take in order to advance the field. The Action members published four books, 23 special issues in scholarly journals and six scientific reports. This COST network was able to produce valuable research results encompassing perspectives from all across Europe, resulting in a more cosmopolitan, genuinely European understanding of the evolving realities of audiences. EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS 40% of the participants were classified as young scholars, 31 of whom were involved in the management of the COST Action. The Action was an official institutional partner of the reputed ECREA Doctoral Summer School , which provides media and communication studies PhD students with the opportunity to present and discuss their work with other young and senior scholars. This partnership gave five PhD students involved in the Action the opportunity to attend the ECREA Summer Schools in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and present their doctoral work on the following topics: • Cross-media experiences of Croatian youth: gender identities negotiated through communication • Turkey’s image in the British press: Representations, discourses, ideologies • The image of the Bulgarian family in social media • Engagement in the fragmented media landscape • The construction of tween identity through the Disney Tween phenomenon END USERS, POLICY MAKERS, REGULATORY BODIES The Action initiated a dialogue with policy makers, including the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, regulatory bodies (Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, and EPRA, the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities), market research institutes (TNS Poland), civil society organisations (UNICEF Belgium), and viewer and listener associations (EAVI, the European Association for Viewers’ Interests, and EURALVA, the European Alliance of Listeners’ and Viewers’ Associations). PUBLICATIONS • Audience transformations. Shifting Audience Positions in Late Modernity • Audience Research Methodologies: Between Innovation and Consolidation • Methods for Analyzing Social Media • Revitalising Audience Research. Innovations in European Audience Research

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Success Stories

Quality of Multimedia Experience European Network on Quality of Experience in Multimedia Systems and Services - QUALINET

The era of user-centric multimedia has already begun, and quality plays a central role here. Nowadays, it is no longer only a question of which features are included in a multimedia product or service, but also how well such features are addressed and, even more importantly, how they affect endusers.

200

researchers and professionals across the world

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OST Action IC1003 established a permanent community of researchers and professionals from different disciplines who tackled the challenges of the Quality of Experience (QoE) in user-centric multimedia services. This topic proved to be even more relevant considering that demand for video services has reached its peak to date and is expected to maintain exponential growth for the next five years. QUALINET has gathered over 200 researchers and professionals from all around the world; most of them come from European and COST countries (27), but international partners were also involved (six countries). The main objective was to develop and promote methodologies to measure the impact of future multimedia products and services on quality. This COST Action also aims to coordinate research in this field and set up a European network of experts facilitating the transfer of technology and know-how to industry, coordination in standardisation, and the certification of products and services. Sustainability beyond the period of funding is one of QUALINET’s cornerstones.

The ability to effectively assess the impact of multimedia content on human users is increasingly important, as digital technologies strive to offer a richer and more effective quality of experience. This requires a better understanding of underlying parameters defining experience as well as methods to measure them.

Picture above: Prof. Touradj Ebrahimi giving a presentation at a Qualinet meeting in Berlin

The COST framework was instrumental in QUALINET’s success. Before the Action’s establishment, research and innovation on the Quality of Experience was not well coordinated and no critical mass existed in this multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary field. The Action created a real community around Quality of Experience, putting Europe on the map as a leader in this field. QUALINET also successfully trained the next generation of scientists and engineers in user-centric multimedia, provided the community with a number of valuable sources of information and data, and accelerated the career development of early- stage researchers and gendered-innovation research. Prof. Touradj Ebrahimi, Action Chair


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Success Stories Quality of Multimedia Experience Significant achievements DEFINITION OF THE MULTIMEDIA QUALITY OF EXPERIENCE

Qualinet successfully clarified the concept of Quality of Experience and issued a White Paper on the definitions of QoE, which is now considered a reference by the scientific and professional communities active in multimedia.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS

The Action organised three summer schools and no less than 35 short-term scientific missions, many of which have resulted in various scientific publications and, in some cases, contributions to standardisation.

COLLABORATION WITH VARIOUS ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN, IMPLEMENTATION AND VERIFICATION OF MODELS

In order to understand how Quality of Experience can be defined in HDR imaging and video, including 3D video. • Owing to the official links forged with major standardisation committees such as JPEG, MPEG, VQEG, ETSI and ITU-T, QUALINET was chosen to coordinate the selection of the next-generation 3D video compression standard using a methodology designed and implemented by several of its members. • QUALINET also worked with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Video Quality Experts Group (VQEG).

STANDARDISATION

QUALINET was officially tasked with evaluating and assessing the proposed technologies and, once they were selected, supporting their progress towards final specifications. Examples include the evaluation of the now-established HEVC/H.265 video coding standard for UHDTV, the next-generation 3D video coding standards by MPEG, and the HDR image compression standard by JPEG committees.

INNOVATION

QUALINET has successfully brought together the largest collection of datasets in a wide number of fields, comprising over 200 specific multimedia databases that can be used by researchers and professionals around the world, providing details on what they offer, where they can be accessed, the usage conditions, and, last but not least, researchers’ ability to share their experiences with others with specific datasets.

FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS/ NETWORK’S SUSTAINABILITY

• The International Workshop on Quality of Multimedia Experience (QoMEX) was QUALINET’s flagship workshop. The COST Action focused on QoMEX, which was already established as a reputable international forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest technological advances in Quality of Experience. The workshop is still held every year, bringing together leading experts from academia and industry interested in evaluating multimedia quality and user experience. • The network established through Qualinet is now a crucial player in the field of multimedia quality. It has gained momentum, especially over the past few years, and that is why its members decided to continue the activities beyond the four-year period of COST funding.

The Action created a real community around “Quality of Experience”, putting Europe on the map as leader in this field. Gathering over 200 researchers and professionals from all around the world, it successfully brought together the largest collection of datasets in a wide number of fields comprising numerous specific databases relevant to QoE in multimedia. This internationallyrecognised and publicly accessible platform represents a key for current and future developments in Quality of Experience.

COST ACTION IC1003

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WEBSITE

short-term scientific missions

200+

specific multimedia databases

2010-2014 CHAIR Prof. Touradj Ebrahimi (CH) VICE CHAIR Prof. Andrew Perkis (NO) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES Montenegro INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES USA, Singapore, Canada, Australia, Japan

ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB LINKEDIN GROUP


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Success Stories

QUALINET INSIGHT

A success story based on inclusiveness by Judith Redi, Multimedia Computing, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

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I was given the opportunity to coordinate the Qualinet Industry Forum first, and was later appointed Deputy Leader of a working group, thereby becoming an effective member of the QUALINET Technical Committee. This allowed me to actively participate in meetings and discussions, thus interacting with new people and establishing productive cooperation. I was ultimately able to express my opinion and contribute to decisions regarding the direction the QoE community’s research will take in the future. The many early-stage researchers who, like me, participated in QUALINET, paid back this trust and openness with motivation and highquality, hard work, which still continues beyond the formal end of this COST Action, forming the backbone of an ever-growing community.

ithin four years, QUALINET has become a strong academic and industrial community, fostering accomplishments that support and accelerate innovation and research excellence. One of the key ingredients of this success story has been QUALINET’s continued openness to welcoming and supporting new members, irrespective of their geographical origin, age, level of experience or gender. Diversity has given QUALINET the strength to facilitate the transfer of technologies and know-how to industry, coordination in standardisation and the certification of products and services. Comprising representatives from 27 countries, QUALINET brought together QoE researchers from across Europe. It also promoted gender diversity, investing in increased female participation in research activities, both as researchers and as objects of research. As part of a gendered-innovation effort, a dedicated task force initiated the investigation into the gender-sensitive optimisation of Quality of Experience, towards more personalised multimedia delivery (more information about the QUALINET GenderedInnovation initiative can be found here). However, QUALINET’s greatest strength may lie in its inclusiveness towards researchers of all ages and levels of expertise. QUALINET made the most out of the tools provided by COST to get early-stage researchers involved in the Action activities, i.e. short-term scientific missions and training schools. Within four years, 35 STSMs were completed, involving 26 different institutions across Europe. A large number of young researchers were given the opportunity to visit a host institution, where they could exchange ideas and conduct innovative research activities under a perspective different to that used in their home lab, thereby establishing long-term, productive collaborations. QUALINET STSMs resulted in over 45 joint journal and conference publications. Three week-long training summer schools were also organised, where early-stage researchers were welcomed and encouraged to delve deeper into one particular aspect of QoE research. The group work was certainly the most innovative and engaging component of these training schools. In addition to attending lectures, earlystage researchers were put into groups to carry out some practical research under the supervision of a tutor. This resulted in long-term cooperation as well as joint journal and conference publications. QUALINET set itself apart as it was extremely open towards assigning responsibilities to young researchers, boosting their profile and giving them the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in steering research activities. Nearly half of the QUALINET task forces were led by early-stage researchers.


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Success Stories

Nanoscience and its implications for the future Designing novel materials for nanodevices from Theory to Practice (NanoTP)

The design and atomicscale control of nanoscale interfaces is of great scientific and technological importance. However, it is an intrinsically multidisciplinary topic requiring researchers from highly diverse backgrounds to work closely together.

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OST Action NanoTP promoted exchanges between laboratories from different countries and research fields with a view to creating a more unified platform for research in nanotechnology. The Action involved a vast scientific community, comprising close to 300 researchers from 27 European countries. The network was an exceptionally impressive success, providing numerous results, such as collaborative PhD theses, scientific publications, the submission of joint research projects and convergence in the research programmes of different laboratories.

Chairing NanoTP was a new experience, which, though scary at first sight, proved to mark a U-turn in my academic career. It brought new research subjects and different ways to tackle the challenges they pose to my attention, allowed me to work with other scientists from countries as far away as Australia but, above all, it helped me to make friends from different research backgrounds and nationalities. This successful cooperation would have never been possible without NanoTP. The support of Chris Ewels (Vice Chair), Itamar Proccacia (Rapporteur) and the core Management Committees formed the backbone of our success. With them, I learnt how to share doubts, work and points of view. Dr Carla Bittencourt, Action Chair It is important for us that we communicate with the public. People want to know about nanoscience and its implications for the future, and as scientists working in this area we have a responsibility to get involved in the public debate. Running NanoTP with Carla Bittencourt was a fantastic, if sometimes exhausting, experience. It would have been impossible without the great core Management Committees, an excellent and supportive Project Officer who was always available to give judicious advice, and, most of all, a wonderful group of friendly and enthusiastic scientists who entered into the spirit of the network and were all willing to dedicate their time and energy to making it a success. Understanding the complexities of COST regulations (and how to make them work for you) takes time and experience which we developed ’on the job’. Personally, I’ve found the experience immensely enriching from a scientific point of view, and after four years I leave with many new friends and partnerships. Dr Chris Ewels, Action Vice Chair


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Success Stories Nanoscience and its implications for the future Significant achievements OUTSTANDING SCIENTIFIC RESULTS

• The Action members developed new software simulation tools, such as a quantum chemical code capable of modelling complete nanoscale devices with tens of thousands of atoms, and new approaches to materials spectroscopy, such as a new microscope design for transmission X-ray spectroscopy. • New strategies were integrated into advanced nanodevices to develop new characterisation tools for nanotechnologies.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS

• 45 short-term scientific missions were carried out, leading to fruitful exchanges among students. • A series of short films was produced, giving valuable insight into the career of a nanoscientist, as seen through the eyes of various researchers working on the NanoTP project. The videos were geared towards young people and undergraduates in particular, encouraging them to pursue a career in research.

COST ACTION MP0901

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY

2010-2014

New collaborations with international partners (from Russia, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Armenia and Belarus) were established, covering disciplines as diverse as applied mathematics, materials engineering and biosensing.

CHAIR Dr Carla Bittencourt (BE) VICE CHAIR Dr Christopher Ewels (FR)

NEW NETWORKS AND SPIN-OFF PROJECTS

Two successful projects are currently running under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme: • ‘NanoCF’ – an International Research Staff Exchange Scheme (IRSES) project that involves several European partners from NanoTP (Russia, France, Germany, Belgium), as well as partners from China, Australia and Japan. This project focuses on strategies to characterise and fluorinate different carbon nanomaterials. • ITN ‘Enabling Excellence’ – involving many partners from France, Spain, Greece and the UK, focusing on the characterisation and integration of graphene-based nanomaterials for touchscreen technologies.

FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES & NETWORK SUSTAINABILITY

Conferences and workshops – GraphITA is a multidisciplinary and intersectoral European workshop on the Synthesis, Characterisation and Technological Exploitation of Graphene. It was launched in 2011 as part of NanoTP. GraphITA is now held every year and, as in previous years, early-stage researchers, PhD students and postdoctoral students, especially those from emerging countries in Southern and Eastern Europe, are strongly encouraged to participate.

TRANSFER OF RESULTS

The Action members published 26 review articles in a special thematic issue of the Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, covering all aspects of the NanoTP Action: from novel nanomaterials synthesis and functionalisation of nanomaterial to interface design, devices and applications, and new characterisation techniques. Their contributions are freely accessible to readers worldwide, the Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology being an international, peer-reviewed, open access publication. NanoTP also produced various videos for the general public, showing scientists working in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology, discussing the future of the new monolayer material, graphene.

An important characteristic that lies behind this impressive thematic series of articles is the interdisciplinary and international cooperation that was made possible by the generous support of the NanoTP COST Action. I am convinced that thanks to the open access policy of the Beilstein Journal, the results of this COST Action will find the right readership and a broad distribution. Paul Ziemann, Associate Editor, Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology

COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES Armenia, Russian Federation INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES Australia, Canada, Mexico WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB


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Success Stories

New developments in glass science and technology Structural Glass - Novel design methods and next generation products

Structural glass is a new and challenging domain, which is rapidly gaining importance in the building sector. The use of glass in the built environment is evolving rapidly from traditional small windows to large-scale structural glass and innovative solar energy products. These novel applications impose new and increasingly onerous performance requirements on glass.

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his COST Action primarily aimed to make an important contribution to the ongoing development of innovative high-performance structural glass products predominantly used for architectural and solar applications, as well as to European standards in this field. The Action identified and shared the outcomes of existing separate activities within the European research community. The Action also established a diverse multi-disciplinary network that encourages new research activities and cooperation between academics, practitioners, and industry representatives.

Before our COST Action, there was no Structural Glass network. Now there is a strong one, and that makes a huge difference in our daily research activities! It was great to see how young, highly motivated researchers could expand their network and accelerate their learning path through it. I am particularly proud of the Education Pack we created, as it will serve as an educational basis for future generations of engineers and designers in Europe. In the meantime, we have also established our own peer-reviewed journal, a dream which originates from our Action. I felt very privileged to be its Chair. Prof. Jan Belis, Chair of the Action

Major publications • Belis J., Louter C., Mocibob D. (eds.), COST Action TU0905 Mid-term Conference on Structural Glass. Leiden, CRC Press/Balkema • Louter C., Bos F., Belis J., Lebet J.P, (eds.), Challenging Glass 4 & COST TU0905 Final Conference. Leiden, CRC Press/Balkema • Belis J., Louter C. Nielsen J., Overend M., Schneider J. Glass Structures & Engineering, Springer


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Success Stories New developments in glass science & technology

COST ACTION TU0905 2010-2014 CHAIR Prof. Jan Belis (BE) VICE CHAIR Prof. Jürgen Neugebauer (AT) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Significant achievements EDUCATION AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS 150 early-stage researchers from 20 different countries joined the Action and participated in two successful Training Schools (Ghent University, 2012 and TU Darmstadt, 2013). Furthermore, the Action facilitated an amazing number of over 40 successful short-term scientific missions, fostering unique, on-demand mobility and cooperation for a great number of young researchers. The Action strengthened current and future generations of European glass designers by developing a structural glass Education Pack for university curricula across Europe. SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS The Action triggered the launch of a brand new scientific journal, ’Glass Structures & Engineering’ (Springer), which aims to be the leading reference in the field and is therefore of vital importance for the scientific community. • Official standards and / or norms developed: The Action teamed up with standardisation bodies with a view to creating European standards. The Action’s working group dedicated to these activities still exists and works towards achieving the goals of common standardisation. The network contributed to the new Eurocode on Structural Glass through the JRC Scientific and Policy Report ‘Guidance for European Structural Design of Glass Components’ which has several COST Action authors . • Influence on agenda setting at both national and EU level: One of the main problems in the field of structural glass was the fragmentation of research and a need for more joint development across European universities and research centres. The COST Action funding was crucial for the development of research in the field of structural glass. It united what had previously been a rather fragmented field with many isolated activities, and it could be argued that without COST funding this situation would not have changed much. • Benefits to citizens and society: The Action supported the process of creating safer products and reducing the number of glass-related injuries, which generally constitute an unacceptably high proportion of casualties at extreme loading events. Making a standardised product can be beneficial for producing safer glass, especially at a time when around 80% of all blast injuries from anything from terrorist attacks to major environmental disasters are caused by glass– understanding glass material and making it safer is a definite contribution to societal challenges. • Industrial dimension. The Action’s Task Group on Laminated Glass and Interlayers gathered expert representatives of all major glass laminating interlayer manufacturers. The interdisciplinary cooperation with the solar industry had an influence on product development and safety (e.g. for thin-film technology PV-modules – TU Darmstadt).

COST COOPERATING STATE Israel WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB

40

short-term scientific missions

150 early-stage researchers


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Success Stories

Sharing scientific and technical resources in computational spectroscopy COnvergent Distributed Environment for Computational Spectroscopy (CODECS)

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he interdisciplinary COST Action CODECS (COnvergent Distributed Environment for Computational Spectroscopy) strived to simulate and predict the spectroscopic observables of realistic molecular systems relevant for life and material sciences. Theoretical models and computational tools were developed thanks to a very broad range of interdisciplinary expertise within CODECS. They allowed the in silico design of new sustainable smart materials endowed with unique, magnetic, electric, optical or mechanical properties for advanced everyday life applications. These novel approaches and the related computer codes, graphical interfaces and other tools have been now introduced to nonexperts and documented on the Action’s web page, thus serving the scientific community.

Computational spectroscopy is rapidly evolving from a highly specialised research field into a versatile and fundamental tool for the assignment of experimental spectra and their interpretation in terms of basic physical-chemical processes. Nowadays, the impact of spectroscopic techniques in practical applications is huge, ranging from astrophysics to drug design and biomedical studies, from the field of cultural heritage to characterisations of materials and processes of technological interest.


Success Stories Sharing scientific and technical resources in computational spectroscopy COST ACTION CM1002 2010-2014 CHAIR Prof. Vincenzo BARONE (IT) VICE CHAIR Prof. Hans AGREN (SE) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB

Significant achievements SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS The development of open-access computational tools for the study of spectroscopic properties of non-periodic systems, ranging from small semi-rigid molecules in the gas phase to large flexible systems in condensed phases. INCLUSIVENESS The Action involved about 100 researchers from 21 COST Member Countries, including 8 less research-intensive countries. EXTENDED NETWORKS CREATED, INCLUDING INVOLVEMENT OF YOUNG RESEARCHERS Over the four-year period, more than 750 researchers, many of whom were early-stage researchers, participated in conferences, workshops, training schools or short-term scientific missions. Together with young researchers’ exchanges and joint projects, the CODECS Action was instrumental in the creation of new hardware (CAVE3D, datacentre) and software (VMS-Draw) produced by the SNS group, also thanks to the suggestions and discussions with several CODECS partners. Prof. Vincenzo Barone, Action Chair, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa As a junior research group leader, it was a great opportunity to establish scientific contacts with researchers from all over Europe. These resulted in several new collaborations and joint publications. One of the immediate benefits was the possibility to recruit an excellent PhD student through the COST network. Prof. Christoph Jacob, TU Braunschweig, Germany

? Computational spectroscopy is a branch of chemistry that uses computer simulation to assist in solving chemical problems. It uses methods of theoretical chemistry, incorporated into efficient computer programs, to calculate structures and properties of molecules and solids

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The participation in the CODECS Action played a key role in justifying a focused programme that strengthens my position as an independent researcher. Moreover, it made possible to initiate essential international collaborations for the development of an innovative and multidisciplinary project. The CODECS Action also proved to be crucial in broadening the impact and exposure of the research accomplishments as it expanded the scope of our activities beyond the initial goals. I think that the thorough management and dedication of the Scuola Normale Superiore team in Pisa, the Grant Holder institution, have been pivotal for the success of the CODECS Action. Dr María Pilar de Lara-Castells, CSIC Madrid, Spain When I entered the COST Action, I was a tenure-track associate professor with limited access to resources. CODECS was extremely helpful in disseminating my scientific results and in building up a large research and collaboration network. The conferences were very inspiring, enabling me to broaden my own knowledge and remain up-to-date in the field of computational spectroscopy. The resources provided by COST for traveling to conferences, for STSMs of my group members, and for the organisation of my own conference really boosted my career. During my participation in CODECS, I got offers for permanent professorships from three different universities. I am confident that my activities within this COST Action were very helpful to convince the research committees at these institutions, and to get proper appreciation for my own field of research in general. Prof. Johannes Neugebauer, Münster University, Germany


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Success Stories

Time perception Time In MEntaL activitY: theoretical, behavioural, bioimaging and clinical perspectives (TIMELY)

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he need for cooperation in and the dissemination of timing research led to the creation of a multidisciplinary network establishing the first European community on time perception and its underlying consequences in various disciplines (e.g. neuroscience, anthropology, physics computational science, linguistics). TIMELY brought together 318 members, including 112 female researchers and 122 early -stage researchers. TIMELY’s large network of researchers focused on: 1

the definition and measurement of timing;

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the developmental and cognitive factors affecting time

Timing is ever-present in our everyday life; as such (unsurprisingly), many scientists from different disciplines investigate timing and how people perceive, process, and effectively use timing in their daily activities. Each discipline investigating timing has been making progress and scoring ’small’ victories in the field. Most of these victories, however, remain unknown to other disciplines and the general public is unaware of them entirely.

perception; 3

COST ACTION TD0904

the use of basic research findings in real-world applications; the definition of the neural correlates of time perception.

The greatest challenge facing this COST Action was the creation of a network that could advance the understanding of the processes underlying time perception by exploring the relevant multidisciplinary theoretical, behavioural, neurobiological and clinical perspectives. The new challenge is to maintain it within Europe in the coming years – which may prove to be an exciting period for timing research.

Significant achievements Thanks to TIMELY, Europe has become an active hub for European and international cooperation, timerelated events, training courses for young scientists, and many publications. DISSEMINATION ACTIVITIES This large network of scientists organised numerous activities and produced many publications, including: • three conferences • 20 workshops/ symposiums • six training schools • 17 STSMs (short-term scientific missions) • 14 collaborative works (e.g. edited books, Journal issues). Furthermore, TIMELY was the main driving force behind the establishment of two new journals devoted solely to timing and time perception: • Timing & Time Perception • Time & Time Perception

2010-2014 CHAIR Dr Argiro Vatakis (EL) Timing and the brain were the focus of the 20th and 21st centuries, so the centuries to come will surely continue to centre on temporal processing and the development of artificial agents with mental time-travel capabilities. Thus, as a proposer and chair of TIMELY, I faced the challenge of making it a) an active network and b) the home of many European and international timing researchers. We succeeded thanks to the funding and support provided by COST and the need for such a network. Overall, TIMELY put Europe at the forefront of both basic and applied multidisciplinary research on timing and time perception. Dr Argiro Vatakis, Action Chair

VICE CHAIR Prof. Elzbieta Szelag (PL) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB


Inclusiveness and mobility

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A story of inclusiveness and mobility: interview with Professor Kiril Sotirovski

Professor Kiril Sotirovski, Macedonian researcher and former COST DC Member speaks about the principle of solidarity and how COST turned out to be a crucial step in his research career path. First things first. Could you please briefly introduce yourself and let us know how you first got involved in COST?

The most direct impact began with that particular meeting in Montpellier. It was my first international meeting at that level and I very much appreciated the fact that I had the chance to be exposed to the work of my peers and had been given the opportunity to present my own research to an international audience.

I am currently a full professor of Forest Pathology at the Faculty of Forestry, University ‘Ss. Cyril and Methodius’. I specialise in chestnut blight and the cause of this disease, the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, but I have been involved in research of other forest plant pathogens, such as Phytophthora, Dutch Elm Disease and others. My first contact with COST was back in 1997, when Macedonia was still not member of the community. I got in touch with Dr Ursula Heiniger of the WSL in Switzerland, who learned that I was working on my PhD focusing on the topic of chestnut blight, which happened to be an important part of the ongoing Action G4 “Multidisciplinary chestnut research”. She found a way to bring me to the meeting, although I remember that there were many administrative obstacles, due to the status of my country at that time. I ended up presenting my work in Montpellier in front of many people from my stricter or broader area of research. Keep in mind that the late 1990s were not the best of times for most of Western Balkan countries, including Macedonia. Research and science were not priorities, so it was exceptionally difficult for young researchers to establish themselves and perform research at higher standards. There were no, or very few, national funds for research projects, nor for travel to conferences or meetings.


Inclusiveness and mobility

In what way did COST shape or influence your career? The most direct impact started with that particular meeting in Montpellier. It was my first international meeting at that level, and I highly appreciated that I had the chance to be exposed to the work of my peers, and that I was given the opportunity to present my own research to an international audience. It was great to socialise with scientists from across the continent, and even with some whom I call ‘legends’ in our research area. It was great to feel that I was part of a bigger and more important entity, this whole network, and that I could ask and be asked, not only about chestnut blight, but also about broader methodologies and concepts. I once again found hope that there were possibilities for researchers like myself to make an impact in their areas of research, even if they come from smaller countries, or countries with objectively lesser resources and opportunities. I have to say that I managed to maintain great relations with groups from France, Italy, Spain, Greece and others from that initial meeting, and in many cases to jointly compete and to get approved for international research projects. One of the most prolific of those collaborations is the one with the WSL group from Switzerland. I am very proud to say that we have managed to win 4 SCOPES projects together through the years, and have spread our cooperation to groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and even as far as Georgia. We have many joint publications on chestnut blight with a respectable number of citations, and I hope that soon it will also be the case in the field of Phytophthora.

What were the Actions in which you participated/ chaired (if that’s the case)? What was your role and how do you perceive these experiences in terms of benefits both for your career and for the respective scientific field? During my eight years as representative of Macedonia in the DC of Forests, their Products and Services (FPS), I served as rapporteur for several actions: E45 “European Forest Externalities (EUFOREX)”, FP0801 “Established and Emerging Phytophthora: Increasing Threats to Woodland and Forest Ecosystems in Europe”, FP1103 “Fraxinus dieback in Europe: elaborating guidelines and strategies for sustainable management (FRAXBACK)”. The latter two of those actions are in my stricter area of expertise, but deal with pathogens not present in Macedonia. I volunteered to be rapporteur because apart from my administrative duties, I had a great benefit from being in contact with my colleagues and having insight in their work, latest results and ideas. I am also involved in the COST Action FP1102 “Determining Invasiveness And Risk Of Dothistroma (DIAROD)” which is now in its final stages, and I am planning to soon get involved in the Action FP1401 “A global network of nurseries as early warning system against alien tree pests (Global Warning)”. I have to note that the field of forest pathology has had an extremely prosperous period in the past several years within COST, since the number of pathology actions was more than the expected average, and all of them have been very successful from both a scientific and networking point of view.

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What have been the main benefits of being part of COST? How important has the support of COST been to your research? My career has greatly benefitted from being part of COST. The whole concept of devoting resources to researcher networking, although it may see counterintuitive, has proven to be very successful, especially in the mid and long-term. I am sure that in the coming years, we will see more benefits and results, although it might be difficult to assess them objectively. What recommendations would you give COST, in order for it not to lose its character of valuable and unique networking tool for scientists and researchers in the European Research Area (ERA)? It truly is a unique and remarkable tool and system, and its character made it even more exceptional when compared to all other research foundations and entities promoting science. After the latest rather big changes in its organisation, I would recommend that it remains very alert to diagnosing eventual faults, and if such arise, not to delay in making minor or bigger adjustments in order to improve, even if it would need to step back during this process. COST needs to remain flexible, and to take into consideration suggestions and recommendations from the scientific community which are well-intended. When you remember your experience with COST as an early-stage researcher, how do you see their role within COST? COST’s insistence on involving ESRs through formal mechanisms has been a great tool in guaranteeing the greater involvement of early-stage researchers through formal mechanisms has been a great tool to guarantee better involvement of young researchers in science in general, not only in COST-related activities. This same mechanism has proven successful for promoting the gender balance, and I am totally in favour of it. How does COST contribute to widening pan-European participation? The principle of solidarity is a very valuable aspect within COST, and I must stress that it is understood that some countries make a greater financial contribution than others. However, the benefits are certainly mutual and multidimensional. More prosperous countries get to meet researchers from the not-soprosperous countries, but who, nevertheless, are devoted enough to guarantee quality and also to deliver different and sometimes new perspectives to certain areas of research. COST allows for a great symbiosis. Name the best three things about COST and three things you would change about it or would like to see improved in the future? In my opinion, the three best things about COST are its principle of solidarity, the relative ease of administration in establishing and/or participating in an Action, and the possibility for mobility and short-term scientific missions. Instead of naming three things to change, I would opt for just one thing - even larger funding i.e. expansion of the number of Actions.


Targeted Networks

Targeted Networks are Governing Boarddriven initiatives addressing various policy objectives. Four such Targeted Networks have been running since 2012: genderSTE Sci-GENERATION BESTPRAC CAPABAL • CAPABAL


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Targeted Networks

Gender, Science, Technology and Environment – genderSTE Networking to advance gender in research and innovation in Europe and beyond COST ACTION TN1201 2012-2016 CHAIR

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orking with stakeholders from over 40 countries in Europe and beyond, genderSTE is a COST initiative intended to advance knowledge and policy implementation regarding gender, science , technology and the environment by creating a network of policy makers and experts in the field. More specifically, genderSTE is a network of experts committed to promoting a fairer representation of women and securing the improved integration of gender analysis in research and innovation. Gender is a cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020. genderSTE also seeks to: • improve the gender balance in top-level positions in science and technology institutions; • ensure that gender analysis becomes a standard component of research proposals; • develop knowledge about the impact of sex and gender analysis in various research fields; • disseminate the existing know-how to better integrate gender dimensions.

Prof. Inés Sánchez de Madariaga (ES)

VICE CHAIR

Did you know?

60%

Women represent 60% of European graduates, but make up only 20% of European researchers and full professors

Ms Marcela Linkova (CZ)

1,3-3,5 Women are between 1.3 and 3.5 times more likely to be vegetarian

• Seatbelts fail to protect foetuses. 82% of foetal deaths with known causes result from motor vehicle collisions. Pregnant crash test dummies were developed only in 1996 and are not mandated by all governments for automobile safety testing. See article • The exclusion of women and the subsequent negative impact on health have been widely documented. The best documented case is cardiovascular diseases; there is a similar case to be made for the exclusion of men in osteoporosis research. The role of gender stereotypes also has prominent negative effects on men’s health regarding depression and preventive health care, for example. See article • In the UK, surveys consistently indicate that women are between 1.3 and 3.5 times more likely to be vegetarian. Men are also likely to eat more meat in other European countries. The climate impact of a vegetarian diet is around one half of the average meat eater’s diet. Source: WEN, 2010. • Research by the New Economics Foundation in the UK has established that a higher proportion of an average man's carbon footprint is due to leisure than an average woman’s (Druckman et al, 2013).

COST MEMBER COUNTRIES

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel

NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES

Georgia, Lebanon, Morocco, Syrian Arab Republic

INTERNATIONAL PARTNER COUNTRIES Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand

WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB


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Targeted Networks

2014 Highlights and achievements EUROPEAN AND WORLD PLATFORMS OF WOMEN RECTORS

The Action Chair, Prof. Ines Sanchez de Madariaga, was invited to the bi-annual conferences held by these two organisations. The first one was held in Istanbul in May 2014 and the second one in Beijing in September 2014. Participation in these two high-level events strived to boost the network’s global profile among top female decision-makers in academia. Furthermore, different types of cooperation arose from these meetings. The conferences were held under the patronage of UNESCO, which has also promoted genderSTE by fostering research and education worldwide with gender as a priority theme.

UNITED NATIONS (UN-HABITAT AND UN-WOMEN)

genderSTE and UN-Habitat co-organised the launch of the Gender Hub in Madrid in January 2014.The Gender Hub is a network of universities from around the world committed to research on gender in different fields: cities, climate, energy and transport. 50 people representing 20 countries participated in this meeting. As a result of this meeting, the Chair was invited to speak and present genderSTE at a panel organised by UN-Habitat as a parallel event of the CSW, the Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York in March 2014. UN-Habitat also invited the Chair to speak and present genderSTE at the World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia, in April 2014. UN-Women held a specific session on Safe Cities at the Engendering Cities conference organised by genderSTE in Rome in September 2014.

MEETING IN HERAKLION IN MAY 2014 as part of the programme of the Greek Presidency of the EU

CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON STRUCTURAL CHANGE University Of Rijeka - Faculty Of Medicine, Rijeka, Croatia, May 2014

CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP AT CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY Budapest, Hungary, November 2014

ENGENDERING CITIES CONFERENCE In conjunction with UN-habitat under the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (EU) and the National Research Council of Italy, Rome, Italy

Video on COST YouTube channel

PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON HORIZON 2020

genderSTE contributed to the public consultation on “Science with and for Society”, providing views on the potential priorities of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-2014. The network promoted gender equality, in particular by supporting structural changes in research institutions and in the content and design of research activities. The response to the stakeholder consultation can be found here

CULTURAL AND INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE. STRATEGY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The Targeted Network published a guide presenting a new approach to promote gender equality in science – Cultural and Institutional Change. Strategy and Recommendations. This manual highlights how important and necessary is the support from the institutions and their key leaders in order to implement systematic, institutional and cultural changes. It is intended for everyone who wishes to contribute to the improvement of the working conditions in science, and therefore to the development of institutions and scientific knowledge. PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE EU URBAN AGENDA

genderSTE contributed to the Public Consultation on the EU Urban Agenda, proposing the integration of Gender Mainstreaming for the 2014-2020 programme. The adoption of the Gender dimension by the EU Urban Agenda is particularly important as the document will serve as a guideline to be implemented in the field of sustainable urban development supported by Structural Funds in the different Member States. The response to the Consultation can be found here.


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Targeted Networks

Next Generation of Young Scientists: Towards a Contemporary Spirit of R&I – Sci-GENERATION

S

ci-GENERATION is the second Targeted Network approved by the COST Committee of Senior Officials. It strives to foster contemporary scientific thought and thereby disseminate a new spirit of research and innovation in Europe. The Network established a bottom-up and pan-European platform for young, outstanding next-generation researchers from Europe (including ERC Grantees and other talents from less research-intensive countries) in order to share and disseminate their visions on emerging research paths and research policy as well as their experience and ideas. Sci-GENERATION is dedicated to excellent next-generation scientists because of the limitations and obstacles they face on a daily basis as they strive to carve out an outstanding research career. Such obstacles result from short-term decisions in regional, national or European research policy.

Bringing together the next generation of European innovators Interview with Professor Liesbet Geris Why did you get involved in COST and, more specifically, take on the responsibility of being Working Group Leader within Sci-GENERATION?

Liesbet Geris is a Professor in Biomechanics and Computational Tissue Engineering at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Liège and Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the KU Leuven, Belgium. She is a Working Group Leader and part of the managing body of the COST Targeted Network, Sci-Generation. The network aims to establish a bottom-up and pan-European platform for young, outstanding European researchers in order to share and transmit their visions on emergent research paths and research policy as well as their experience and ideas.

I have always been interested in research policy and I like to get involved in initiatives that foster cooperation to avoid duplicating efforts. Back in 2013, I was already a member of the Young Academy of Europe, which is a bottom-up association providing input and feedback on various aspects of science in Europe. My background and experience convinced me to speak up for my fellow young colleagues across Europe and this is how I signed up for Sci-GENERATION and proudly accepted to lead the Working Group focusing on interdisciplinarity. What is at heart of this COST Targeted Network? This COST Targeted Network strives to bring together young researchers in Europe and encourage them to reflect on multiple policy issues. The objective is to make them think about the ideal European research environment that they would want to work in and would want to create for the scientists of the future. The network’s various working groups consider different aspects of the European research environment that we would like to create for the next generation of researchers. Working Group 1 works on inclusiveness, so that we involve all countries in Europe. Working Group 2 focuses on different ways to manage your transition to independence and includes all the administrative issues that crop up during the life of a scientist, such as moving from one country to another, working for different universities, and managing pension schemes. Working Group 3 focuses on interdisciplinarity and the evaluation of interdisciplinary projects. Finally, Working Group 4 is mapping all initiatives across Europe that bring together young researchers thinking about science policy, with the aim of finding solutions to work synergistically instead of alongside each other.


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Targeted Networks You are the leader of Working Group 3 on interdisciplinarity. How can interdisciplinary research contribute to the future of the next generation of researchers in Europe? Looking at the eight societal challenges defined in Horizon 2020, we can see that the only way to respond to and work towards them is by bringing together resources and knowledge from different fields. The problems are so complex that they cannot be dealt with by a single discipline. We need to look at the same problem from different angles and join forces because some challenges can only be met using an interdisciplinary approach.

Do you think that COST can help researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries to come together and achieve their goals, despite their less research-intensive environments? I am sure that COST can contribute in this sense. It does not necessarily need to be in big ways. It is already a step forward if researchers can attend scientific meetings and workshops at a European level related to the topic of their research without having to worry about travel costs or sustenance, such being the case for the meetings organised by COST Actions. Often, it is in the small talk during the coffee break that you find out about different “success stories” from universities across Europe and can get useful information on your career and research that can help you change things for the better in your own country and university. Most of the Sci-Generation Working Groups are now writing their Position Papers. They have been collecting input over the past year and a half. Once we have published these Position Papers, we hope they will help researchers to change things in their own university, their own country or even in Europe as the arguments they will use no longer reflect only their personal views, but rather a consensus from a community of young European researchers on research methodologies, policy-making, as well as the general needs of nextgeneration researchers. What are the COST Targeted Network achievements you are most proud of until now? As we only got started in 2013, we do not yet have any major events, other than our regular MC meetings and working group meetings. Sci-GENERATION brings together young, high-achieving researchers to discuss issues related to general policy questions rather than their specific research areas. It has proven to be quite a challenge to get everyone on the same page and agree on a working method. However, the network’s teething problems are now in the past, with the help of COST and our rapporteurs who really support this Targeted Network, I’m genuinely proud of how highly motivated our members are, given their very busy schedules. We will have at least two promising workshops next year, one on inclusiveness that will be organised in Ljubljana and one on interdisciplinarity held in Brussels. We were very happy that the speakers we invited, amongst other representatives from the European Commission, the European Research Council and local policy makers, accepted the invitation. So it seems that we have everything set up and two excellent workshops are ready to go. What recommendations would you give COST in order to better support the next-generation of researchers? I think that COST is doing really well by placing interdisciplinarity at the core of its Actions – which is great because this way, it encourages young researchers to take more risks and explore “uncharted territories” that no longer fit in a single scientific field. Moreover, COST clearly advocates and promotes young researchers and women, encouraging them to apply. These policies have come across quite clearly.

This is why, as a young researcher, I would feel more comfortable writing a COST Action proposal than applying for a Horizon 2020 grant, for instance. In the latter case, I would still worry that because I am a young researcher, my application might not be considered as “good” as those submitted by my older colleagues. With COST it is quite the opposite - COST really supports young researchers! How do you think working as a scientist today has changed compared to the 1980s? Speed. The speed at which technology is developing and the amount of information is made available is absolutely incredible. I remember my very first publication in 2003 – I submitted it through regular mail. Nowadays, everything needs to move fast and researchers in particular should be able to multitask: you need to be an inspiring teacher, a good mentor, a gifted science communicator and an excellent researcher who is aware of what is going on in your respective scientific field. Papers and scientific journals are coming out left and right at an everincreasing speed and, of course, a career in science is largely built on the quality – and sometimes unfortunately also the quantity – of publications. To sum it up, I think that the intensity has increased quite a lot since the 80s. As such, young researchers are faced with the challenge of establishing themselves in this very fast-paced world and keeping up with the speed of scientific and technological progress while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You were awarded an ERC Starting Grant (2011). Keeping this in mind, how do you think COST helps you build and capitalise on that experience? Both the ERC Starting Grant and the COST Framework Programme help us by giving our arguments more weight and allowing us to get things done in universities and funding agencies.

ERC and COST give you the opportunity to establish yourself as a leader in both your research field and the wider policy area. I think that the importance of having like-minded people, working together is underestimated. I strongly believe that young scientists, especially those researching emerging interdisciplinary fields, such as bioprocessing and in silico medicine, who are looking for a community, should turn to COST, since it seems to be one of the only European programmes providing a way to establish a community of researchers in any scientific field, through a bottom-up approach. As such, my recommendation to COST would be to utilise its uniqueness and continue building communities that can take scientific research further, beyond the walls of a university. bversity.

COST ACTION TN1301 2013-2015 CHAIR Prof. Thomas Schäfer (ES) VICE CHAIR Prof. Nedjeljka Zagar (SI) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB


39

Targeted Networks

Building a Network of Administrative Excellence – BESTPRAC

B

ESTPRAC is a new COST initiative advancing the state of the art in the administration of transnational research projects by creating a network of research administrators. More specifically, the network establishes connections between research project administrators (including legal, administrative and financial staff in universities and other research institutions) in order to overcome their isolation, foster mobility and encourage professional development. The role of research administrators in universities and institutions is more important now than ever before, given the increasing need for external research funding. Administrators’ work can make or break a collaborative project and define an institution’s collaborations, since cultural and procedural differences in dealing with project administration are inherent to European research consortia. Projects simply cannot be carried out without efficient processes running their engine.

Key Successes In 2014, BESTPRAC conducted a number of very successful short-term missions allowing early stage administrators from Inclusiveness Target Countries to identify host institution practices to apply at their home institution and therefore better support their researchers. Several young research administrators from Eastern and Central Europe had the chance to go on mission at universities and research institutes across Europe, during which they exchanged administrative and financial practices across all project stages and found ways of improving project partners’ cooperation. They also analysed the positive impact of research-oriented organisational structures on emerging partnerships. Their findings showed common issues and pitfalls in the administration of EU research projects, including their workflows, legal and financial matters. Andjela Pepic (University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina) visited the Centre for Social Innovation in Vienna, Austria. Her conclusions shed light on good practices in project planning and implementation; a lack of understanding of partners’ roles, differences in communication styles and budget calculations can seriously undermine the project. Findings also revealed efficient practices leading to streamlined, clear processes. Ms Joanna Kartasiewicz’s mission aim was to transfer knowledge from the University of Ljubljana and the IEDC-Bled School of Management to the Kozminski University in Poland. She outlined the best practices that the Polish university is keen on implementing: internal instructions and handbooks on managing EU projects, specialised training courses and related European certifications, joining research networks, and greater focus on science communication.

My stay at the Centre for Social Innovation in Vienna for a short-term mission within the COST Targeted Network BESTPRAC was a valuable experience which provided me with practical tools for planning and managing European projects, which I could use at my home institution upon my return while preparing new proposals for Horizon 2020 calls.


40

Targeted Networks

The two universities will also start a joint project aiming to encourage research administrators in Eastern and Central European universities to team up within EU-funded consortia. Andri Charalambous (Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics) visited the financial department at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, where she learned how to simplify audit practices by having a filing system in place for each project. She also learned that the finance department at Max Planck informs project members about possible underspending and that the accounting department is asked for approval before proceeding with purchase orders. Lucyna Kejna, employee of the International Research Projects Office at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, participated in a short-term scientific mission at the University of Copenhagen. BESTPRAC also organised two productive workshops in Zagreb and Bratislava last year. The reports of the meetings are available online: Zagreb and Bratislava.

COST ACTION TN1302 2013-2015 CHAIR Mr Jan Andersen (DK) My short-term scientific mission aimed to investigate research project management models at the University of Ljubljana and IEDC School of Management in Bled. The objective of the site visit was to facilitate the exchange of best practices and transfer of knowledge on the excellent administration of research projects, thus raising existing standards of support. It was also an opportunity to shore up the connections and cooperation between the participating institutions from Poland and Slovenia. Joanna Kartasiewicz, Research Manager, Kozminski University, Poland The visit was a unique opportunity to observe the wonderful systems of the research support at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Science. The host institution provides their scientists with comprehensive and overwhelming support at every stage of the project, starting with the very idea of applying for one. Lucyna Kejna, International Research Projects Office, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland Such short-term missions greatly contribute to the overall success of the BESTPRAC Targeted Network, since they enable the exchange of experience and sharing of knowledge needed to develop best practices, all resulting in an increasingly efficient administration. Such missions help us better understand the different obstacles in research administration in different institutions and countries. BESTPRAC Chair Jan Andersen and Vice Chair Martina Pรถll

VICE CHAIR Ms Martina Poell (AT) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom COST COOPERATING STATE Israel NEAR NEIGHBOUR COUNTRIES Albania, Tunisia WEBSITE ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB


41

Targeted Networks

Capacity Building in Forest Policy and Governance in Western Balkan Region - CAPABAL

C

APABAL is the fourth Targeted Network approved by the COST Committee of Senior Officials. The network will enhance forest and natural resources policy and governance, as well as improving sustainable, multifunctional forest management in the Western Balkans and throughout Europe. CAPABAL plans to achieve this by creating a strong, regional collaborative network of experienced and future leaders in science, policy and management that is wellconnected to European and international networks. Forests are a major source of economic development in the Western Balkans. Young researchers, resource managers in public institutions and future policy leaders from 14 European countries created CAPABAL in order to revise current forestry policies at regional and national level and implement new ones. Although national policies and laws on forestry and natural resources in the Western Balkans mainly spring from international policy agreements, such reforms have not yet been translated into practice at either regional or national level. The region covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Created in 2013, the network began its work in October 2014 by defining a series of objectives and activities for the upcoming two years.

A foresight document on the future of Balkan forests is one of the two main outcomes planned. It is intended to indicate the sector’s challenges and opportunities addressed by a strategic research agenda. The agenda will offer solutions for existing issues and suggest ways to exploit resources that could bridge the gap between policy and reality. Researchers from the Croatian Forest Research Institute and the University of Sarajevo are leading the group and have planned their key activities in the region: short-term scientific missions and training schools in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. This clearly shows the regional focus of the network, also reflecting efforts to engage young scientists and policy makers from less research-intensive countries across Europe.

TN 1401

This is a unique opportunity for young scientists interested in forest policy and governance to establish a regional and international network and improve their own research skills. Vice Chair Dr Mersudin Avdibegović ,University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

ACTION PAGE ON COST WEB

2014-2016 CHAIR Dr Dijana Vuletic (HR) VICE CHAIR Prof. Mersudin Avdibegović (BA) COST MEMBER COUNTRIES Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, fYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom


Impact Assessment COST commissioned an impact assessment at the end of 2013. The findings illustrate the position and added value of COST within the European Research Area while outlining users’ satisfaction with COST activities. Published in 2014, the results were based on feedback from 8,463 respondents. The study was conducted under the supervision of a highly skilled panel of experts. The appointed experts brought to the panel a comprehensive mix of skills and expertise based on long-standing experience in evaluating and assessing the impact of research-focused funding instruments such as COST. The COST impact assessment looked at 277 COST Actions that were launched between 2006 and 2010 and were complete by late 2013. As part of this study, COST impacts were assessed along four broad impact categories: • The impact of COST on networks and network building • The impact of COST on capacity building • The impact of COST on structuring and agenda setting • The impact of COST on the wider economy and society For each of these areas, the Impact Assessment provided a detailed account of the findings and one or two case studies in order to emphasise the success of the COST Actions in that particular impact category.

8,463 respondents

277 COST Actions


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Impact Assessment

Impact on networks and network building

T

he impact assessment concluded that COST activities’ main and most important feature is their impact on networking. Networking and pan-European cooperation are at the core of every COST Action, as COST does not provide funding for the research activities per se, but rather for the creation of science and technology networks. COST benefits Action participants by providing the means to broaden the scope of their networks and improve their national and international profiles. Cross-border co-publication activities increased as a result of these networking activities, succeeding in including early-stage researchers as a group and researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries. Additionally, once they have taken part in COST Actions, researchers often manage to secure other funding. Many of the COST Actions continue after their completion, and are pursued through national, European or international research projects. According to the impact assessment results, 54% of Management Committee Chairs and participants said that their network would not have existed without COST funding. The study shows that the benefits of COST-funded networking activities go beyond those afforded to participants. Most of the Actions also forge ties and cultivate relations with existing national, European and international networks, key organisations and stakeholders. Introducing new ways of cooperating and establishing extended networks is particularly important to the researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries as well as to early-stage researchers. Remarkably, the impact assessment’s findings show that there are Actions where a core group of scientists continued working together even after the funding stopped. Furthermore, COST succeeds in connecting researchers from European countries and beyond with the greater international community.

54%

of Management Committee Chairs and participants said that their network would not have existed without COST funding

Example

Established and Emerging Phytophthora COST Action FP0801

Specific topics demand a larger focus on specialised sub-disciplinary cooperation. This was the case of COST Action FP0801 where the focus on a particular scientific field fostered the generation of more and new subjectrelated expertise. EXTENDED NETWORKS CREATED, INCLUDING INVOLVEMENT OF RESEARCHERS FROM OUTSIDE EUROPE FP0801 was built as a new network that included large numbers of experts and young researchers in the scientific field of biology and forest ecosystems dealing with threats of emerging Phytophthora species. The Action’s Management Committee comprised 49 members from 26 different countries across Europe, as well as additional non-European partners e.g. Australia, New Zealand, North America and Tunisia. INCLUSION OF END USERS, POLICY MAKERS, REGULATORY BODIES The Action established contact with national governments and the European Commission’s DG SANCO and DG AGRI. A notable partnership was also forged with the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO). The representatives and experts from this global network were invited as speakers and presenters to all the conferences organised by Action. FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS / NETWORK’S SUSTAINABILITY Following the completion of the COST Action FP0801, several bilateral and multilateral partnerships were formed, including some at international level. One of them was an EU-funded project focusing on threats to the forest ecosystem in the Balkans, and most COST Action partners from the region got involved in this major initiative. BENEFITS TO CITIZENS AND SOCIETY Action FP0801 helped solve some of the environmental issues caused by the Phytophthora species, e.g. invasive pathogens found on trees in Britain were killing many green areas.


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Impact Assessment

Example

Web-based data collection – methodological challenges, solutions and implementations (WEBDATANET) COST Action IS1004

This COST Action registered a very high level of earlystage researcher involvement (approximately 45% of participants), especially as they made significant contributions. Both the Chair and Vice Chair are early -stage researchers themselves. INTERDISCIPLINARITY OF THE RESEARCH This Action stands out owing to a particularly high level of interdisciplinarity, which was necessary for its purpose, and input from many disciplines was needed to achieve the desired results. Such disciplines included: sociology, psychology, economics, linguistics, computer science, anthropology, political science, medicine, methodology, Internet science, journalism, mathematics and statistics. TRANSFER OF RESULTS This Action has several links with other COST Actions. These are usually centred on one or a small number of participants who are either simultaneously involved in another Action, or who bring the methodological findings of this Action and apply them to the more substantive subjects of other Actions. Collaboration with other Actions through presentations at each other’s events and attendance of meetings included IS1104, IS0906, IS1102, IS0806 and TU1204.

Impact on capacity building “Capacity building lies at the heart of the COST Mission and is fostered by the COST Inclusiveness Policy, which encourages the formation of pan-European, trans- and multidisciplinary networks that create and share knowledge, while building a critical mass of people with the required competences.” COST promotes and invests in the engagement and development of early-stage researchers and researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries. Training schools and short-term scientific missions are the two most important tools to foster the training and career development of young researchers and are used extensively by all COST Actions. The impact assessment concluded that “the benefits of these two instruments are highly visible in individual cases as well as in the overall results of the study”. Virtually all (97% of 1,500 respondents) short-term scientific missions participants reported career development due to the support received and 96% mentioned improved career opportunities as a result of their participation. As such, “COST is effective in including and integrating early-stage researchers into established networks”. In the same time, “COST promotes capacity building while maintaining a special focus on excellence”. Specifically looking at a number of capacity building elements, “COST delivers particularly good results in terms of access to new knowledge and techniques, further to the increased interdisciplinary of research”.

97%

of participants in shortterm scientific missions reported experiencing career development


Impact Assessment Example

Urine and Kidney Proteomics COST Action BM0702

The COST Action Urine and Kidney Proteomics (EuroKUP) aimed to spur on translational research in kidney diseases via the standardisation of urine and kidney proteomics analysis from specimen collection and database creation to data processing and analysis. The innovation of EuroKUP lay in bringing together large multidisciplinary groups to ensure a broad consensus in important developments in the field. EXTENDED NETWORKS CREATED, INCLUDING INVOLVEMENT OF RESEARCHERS FROM OUTSIDE EUROPE Participants came from 23 COST Countries; an institution from Australia (the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute) also participated. Other international researchers mostly took part by attending meetings. Leading investigators came from Taiwan, Japan, the USA and Thailand. FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS & NETWORK’S SUSTAINABILITY The main impact of EuroKUP is considered to be the follow-up multi-centric clinical study, funded through an Initial Training Network (ITN), involving approximately 20 European centres. The study was fully designed as part of the COST Action and a work group leader is now the coordinator of the clinical sample collection; the ITN can be considered the follow-up of EuroKUP.

Impact on structuring and agenda setting

T

he results of the study show that the networks built as part of the Actions also have an important role to play in building consensus and developing new, harmonised approaches to research. The main impact COST has on the structuring of research pertains to the coordination of scientific work coupled with more effective collaboration and faster dissemination. These results are also enhanced by open access to Actions’ results and dissemination activities aimed at the scientific communities as well as wider audiences. Official standards and norms are important instruments to ensure the coordination and harmonisation of research, which allows for the comparison of results. The study concluded that many COST Actions demonstrate notable results in this respect. Most of the standards developed are applied at European level and are usually produced in close collaboration with European standardisation bodies participating in the Actions. The impact of COST Actions on agenda setting is also visible through the new topics addressed. These new and sometimes risky topics are the focal point of some of the Actions. Furthermore, due to scientific advances made through collaboration within COST Actions, network members have boosted their profile significantly and have in return influenced policies and policymaking. “There is a clear need to continue COST activities. There is a high level of demand for networking and capacity building, which are the tasks of COST at European and international level.” According to the impact assessment conclusions, COST is regarded as being extremely important as a provider of funds in specific fields at international level, especially by representatives of the Inclusiveness Target Countries. Furthermore, COST Actions have considerable impact on the structuring of research.

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Impact Assessment

Example

Prevention of honeybee colony losses (COLOSS) COST Action FA0803

This COST Action proved to be an exceptional example of the harmonisation and coordination of research methods. It aimed to coordinate international monitoring and research activities on beekeeping and the prevention of bee colony losses across Europe and the world, promoting cooperative approaches with a strong focus on the transfer of science into beekeeping practices. The network brought together members of the honeybee scientific community, from molecular biologists to ecologists and toxicologists as well as non-academics such as industry participants, beekeepers, veterinarians and agriculture extension specialists. The Action developed standardised tools and manuals that are used worldwide. TRANSFER OF THE RESULTS AND INFLUENCE ON AGENDA SETTING AND ON POLICY MAKING The Action compiled The COLOSS Beebook: Standard Methodologies for Apis Mellifera Research (http://www.coloss.org/beebook). The manual discusses internationally accepted methods for honeybee research to better understand colony losses and to facilitate the comparison of data collected by researchers around the world. COLOSS dissemination activities also involved policy makers: COLOSS members met with Members of the European Parliament, and the Management Committee Chair was invited to the European Commission in Brussels as an expert several times. The Action has contributed considerably to progress in honeybee monitoring and research by means of standardisation in the form of guidelines, protocols and questionnaires. EXTENDED NETWORKS CREATED, INCLUDING INVOLVEMENT OF RESEARCHERS FROM OUTSIDE EUROPE Colony losses are not limited to Europe, and the topic also is also extremely relevant for non-COST Countries. As such, 25% of COLOSS network researchers were from non-COST Countries. The Action involved 360 researchers (of which approximately 40% were female) representing 63 different countries. INCLUSION OF END USERS, POLICY MAKERS, REGULATORY BODIES The COLOSS network included non-academic participants such as industry participants, beekeepers, veterinarians and agriculture extension specialists. FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS / NETWORK’S SUSTAINABILITY COST Action participants won two FP projects on honeybees, and the network members also received research grants from numerous government and private sources. The COST Action FA1307 ’Sustainable pollination in Europe: joint research on bees and other pollinators’ can be considered a follow-up Action of COLOSS. An association registered in Switzerland was founded in September 2013 as a continuation of this Action. It is funded by the Ricola Foundation and the University of Bern’s Institute of Bee Health. The association has members from all around the world. INTERDISCIPLINARITY OF THE RESEARCH Members of the honeybee scientific community, from molecular biologists to ecologists to toxicologists. The Action also managed to attract members from outside the honeybee community (e.g. plant geneticists, microbiologists) to collaborate on joint research projects. CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS & INCREASED VISIBILITY Approximately 50% of members of the COST Action were young researchers. Early-stage researchers participated in WG meetings and gave presentations. The COST Action also introduced a poster prize for early-stage researchers which was funded by Switzerland’s Ricola Foundation and the Management Committee Chair. Many short-term scientific missions were undertaken by early-stage researchers. They benefited not only in terms of enhanced research skills, but more significantly had the opportunity to build up their own small networks. OFFICIAL STANDARDS AND NORMS DEVELOPED The Action developed a colony loss survey to estimate colony losses using a standardised approach. The questionnaire made it possible to assess colony loss due to comparable data collection undertaken in many countries.

25%

of COLOSS network researchers were from Near Neighbour and International Partner Countries

360

researchers involved

63

different countries


47

Impact Assessment

Example

European Network on Fish Biomedical Models (Acronym: EuFishBioMed) - a community resource to enable effective zebrafish partnering in projects targeting human diseases (2013) COST Action BM0804

This COST Action had an innovative agenda as it aimed to establish itself as a community hub for zebrafish researchers, addressing scientific exchange and joint publications as well as advertising the zebrafish model organism as a research methodology in life sciences. The network currently represents over 350 mostly European laboratories active in research utilising the zebrafish (and other small fish). The network was transformed into the EuFishBioMed Society, which continues the COST Action’s activities and is funded from membership fees. EXTENDED NETWORKS CREATED, INCLUDING INVOLVEMENT OF RESEARCHERS FROM OUTSIDE EUROPE By the time it came to an end, the Action had involved 316 Principal Investigators from 19 EU countries in addition to two Reciprocal Agreement Countries (New Zealand and Australia). It probably connected all zebrafish labs in Europe and, based on the assumption that there are five researchers per PI lab, over 1,800 researchers in total were actively involved in the research in zebrafish and human diseases or related fields. INCLUSION OF END USERS, POLICY MAKERS, REGULATORY BODIES Industrial partners, such as suppliers of fish systems or pharmaceutical companies, were involved in the Action on several levels. They contributed to the conferences, which they helped to organise and finance. Additional stakeholders got involved through awareness-raising activities, e.g. round table discussions with policy makers, regulators and NGOs. FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS / NETWORK’S SUSTAINABILITY The COST network was a decisive factor in getting financial support from the Helmholtz Association, the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the FP7 IP ZFHEALTH project, thus ensuring the creation of a European stock and screening centre for zebrafish mutants and transgenic lines named European Zebrafish Resource Centre (EZRC). INTERDISCIPLINARITY OF THE RESEARCH Highly multidisciplinary network: biologists, chemists and other representatives of life sciences, in addition to computer scientists with a focus on DNA sequence analysis or specialising in the handling of big data, physicists and engineers working with optical techniques contributed. CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF EARLY-STAGE RESEARCHERS / INCREASED VISIBILITY Extensive use of the dedicated tools: over 60 short-term scientific missions and very high level of ECI engagement in the Action. Chemical substances required for the research were made available, especially for early-stage researcher who have less financial support available to gain access to such substances. The EuFishBioMed Society was established as a continuation of the Action’s activities, which charges low membership fees to make it affordable for ESRs to participate as well. TRANSFER OF RESULTS (E.G. COLLABORATION WITH OTHER ACTIONS) AND RESEARCH PROJECTS / PUBLICATIONS The network engaged in community and identity building, reduced the gaps in the interdisciplinary zebrafish research community, as well as creating a European point of contact for this community that represented their interests. The Action has also established a European database about zebrafish mutants used in the field.

COST provides an instrument that remains relevant in the changing European R&D funding and support landscape. Without COST, there would be three important omissions from Horizon 2020:

bottom-up networking, research network creation and capacity building, which otherwise would largely have to be achieved based on national initiatives and resources. COST therefore has a momentum to build on, and align its activities in a way that ensures the highest levels of complementarity with the new and existing activities while maximising its impact and added value.


48

Impact Assessment

Impact on the wider economy and society

T

he findings of the impact assessment illustrate that COST Actions do not ultimately aim to address socio-economic impact, but the variety of the topics addressed makes this is inevitable. There are several instances of how the results generated by COST Actions have been delivered to the wider society and general public and have addressed societal or environmental challenges. The range of stakeholders benefitting from the results of the COST Actions is rather broad and the impact is fostered through the involvement of the end users in the Actions. The study shows that COST is highly acknowledged for the role it plays in supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe and in strengthening Europe’s innovation and research capacities. Even though COST Actions are not often seen as producing results that are applied commercially, they are focused on users, and the exchange of knowledge between researchers, industrial partners and policy makers provides many benefits and is appreciated by COST Action participants. According to the survey results, the commitment of industrial partners represents an area for improvement and there is definitely a need to understand the benefits and needs of collaborative work for both academics and businesses.

Example

Development and harmonisation of new operational research and assessment procedures for sustainable forest biomass supply (2013) COST Action FP0902 Going beyond EU level This Action fulfilled the need to combine and standardise research and methodological components by linking regional networks and creating a ‘network of networks‘. The established COST network therefore went decisively beyond working at EU level alone: by the time it came to a close, it also included institutions from two Near Neighbour Countries (Russia and Ukraine), and seven International Partner Countries including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, South Africa, Canada and Brazil. The Action resulted in a publication ‘Good Practice Guidelines for Biomass Production Studies’ which was specifically written to be accessible and useful for industry. The Action also held a final dissemination event in Italy in 2013, which was attended by representatives from industry and included practical elements of direct discernible use to industry, such as the demonstration of machinery that could make the production of biomass more effective and sustainable.


Conferences and Events


Conferences and Events

COST Actions: A Great Opportunity as Incubators for Molecular Science and Technology

27-28 MARCH

Brussels, Belgium

The European chemical industry produces 34% of global output and generates global sales worth â‚Ź600 billion. Thanks to its special profile, situated at the interface of biology, pharmacy, medicine and materials, COST took on the challenge and organised a public event involving scientists with entrepreneurship ideas, as well as policy makers and stakeholders. The event ideally fitted within the scope of Horizon 2020. It provided background information on legal issues, managing skills, businessoriented networking, venture capital and policy mechanisms, and it stimulated the transfer of technologies from COST Actions to the market. Successful examples of spin-off projects created or working within COST Actions were showcased during the event.

50


51

Conferences and Events

The Predictive Power of Marine Science in a Changing Climate

7-8 APRIL

Sopot, Poland

The future quality of life on Earth fundamentally depends on world climate trends. Seas and oceans play a dominant role in regulating global climate by helping to control greenhouse gases, global heat transfer and weather patterns.This strategic event focused on marine science and on the potential reliability of the present models in predicting the future changes of marine environment aspects in particular. Despite the fact that the conference mainly dealt with marine science, there were very strong links to the marine processes with atmosphere and onshore hydrology, especially regarding climate change. The conference brought together European researchers specialising in the study of marine environment both at the biotic and abiotic level in their relation to the changing climate. Participants discussed a multidisciplinary approach to the problem of climate change’s impact on the marine environment in Europe with a view to facilitating transdisciplinary cooperation and thus aiding understanding of the ongoing changes in the marine environment, as well as predicting their future course. Participants came from Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Morocco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Athens, Greece Epigenetics: from Bench to Bedside

5-8 APRIL

This conference offered an excellent opportunity to define a sound framework for establishing the EU as a world leader in the field of epigenetics. By employing a highly interdisciplinary panel of speakers, as well as participants representing top-class EU academic institutions and enterprises, the event covered all potential aspects of the positive impact of epigenetics on human health and well-being, either indirectly through the advances of agriculture, food biotechnology and biodata collection or directly through therapeutics and the discovery of new drugs. The conference fostered great teamwork between the pool of EU scientists and entrepreneurs with the aim of merging scientific knowledge with industrial determination and contributing to economic development and enhancing employment to create highly skilled scientific personnel.


52

Conferences and Events

Food Waste in the European Food Supply Chain: Challenges and Opportunities

12-13 MAY

Athens, Greece

The problem of food waste has attracted considerable public attention in recent years. The European Parliament declared 2014 the European Year against Food Waste. As such, there is strong support for the reduction of food waste and a strategic activity on this topic was a natural role for COST to play. The main focus of this workshop was the enhancement of what is presently defined by FAO (2013) as food wastage. The event was a major attempt at pan-European level to expand the issue of the three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) to the area of recycling and co-use of food wastage. The workshop suggested possible ways to increase the enhancement of food output and optimise the use of resources at every stage in the food chain in line with EU legislation. The event brought together researchers, policy makers, regulatory bodies, decision-makers and industry representatives, in addition to a large number of delegates from the private sector.

Bridging the Gap between Science and Art

12-14 MAY

Sirolo, Italy

This COST strategic transdisciplinary event primarily aimed to highlight the creative and emotional processes behind any outstanding scientific discovery similar to those underlying artistic productions and thereby render a scientific career more appealing to undergraduate students. This conference brought scientists from different fields (physicists, chemists, material scientists, engineers, biologists, physicians), together with artists (film directors, actors, choreographers, dancers, visual artists, architects), art critics, directors of scientific museums, philosophers and prominent international actors, offering an outstanding opportunity to exchange ideas in order to foster the creation of a multidisciplinary community.


53

Conferences and Events

COST at ESOF 2014 - EuroScience Open Forum

22-26 JUNE

Ferroelectric and Multiferroic Electroceramics: Trends and Perspectives

Copenhagen, Denmark

COST Action SIMUFER Showcase within Electroceramics XIV conference

16-20 JUNE

Bucharest, Romania

Electroceramics materials and applications are one of the major research topics in the field of materials science. Electroceramics XIV aimed to provide an interdisciplinary forum for scientists from various theoretical and experimental areas who are involved in fundamental as well as applied research or in the industrial implementation of such materials in multifunctional devices. The scientific programme included the full-day COST Action MP0904 Showcase: Ferroelectric and Multiferroic Electroceramics: Trends and Perspectives.

Video on COST YouTube channel

ESOF is an interdisciplinary, panEuropean conference which brings together 5,000 scientists, business leaders, government officials and international media representatives every two years to discuss the best of European science and address all major global challenges, including those pertaining to energy, climate change, food and health. This year’s event aimed to raise public awareness of science and strengthen the effective ‘bridges’ between science and society synonymous with Euroscience. This Forum was an excellent platform for presenting the ‘new COST’. COST took the opportunity to emphasise the increasingly important role of multi-, interand transdisciplinary science by showcasing three outstanding trans-domain Actions.


54

Conferences and Events

A Scientific Roadmap for Projections of Global Change Impacts on Forests

27-28 AUGUST

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Forests have been subject to intensive research for centuries, as they contribute substantially to human prosperity and well-being. However, new developments such as climate change as well as other environmental and societal changes are challenging our current knowledge of the sustainable management of forests. This two-day event brought together a group of 30 scientists to discuss the challenges and research needed to make projections about the future of Europe’s forests in a time of climate and global change. A thorough Report of Discussions was produced by all participants and published on the event’s webpage (http://www.cost.eu/ download/47769). Some of the most interesting findings refer to landscape management, the need to involve the different stakeholders when we discuss ‘Forest Adaptation’, as well as reforestation - an adaptation measure for guaranteeing protection from soil erosion and preventing floods and fires.

The Cities of Tomorrow: the Challenges of the Horizon 2020 Conference

17-19 SEPTEMBER

Torino, Italy

Cities are a breeding ground for many urban problems as well as scientific and technological solutions, and play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change. This event aimed to define a new integrated concept for cities which will generate dynamic urban development, transport, engineering, environment and social perspectives across a range of geographical levels. These aims can only be achieved by an interdisciplinary cooperation, which COST is best-placed to provide. As such, COST utilised expertise from various disciplines, uniting international experts who exchanged ideas with key actors in the field of urban development, with the intention of contributing to the Horizon 2020 goals. The conference gathered participants from academia, industry, policy makers, public bodies, and civil society in order to create a new multifaceted vision of the cities of tomorrow. Particular attention was paid to select participants across geographical levels and types of organisations both inside and outside COST networks. For instance, the conference received contributions from the EU, as well as regional and city-level structures. The workshop was set up to tangibly influence the future of cities, making them ‘liveable’ and thereby undertaking an international consultation about the main findings as a follow-up exercise, with the necessary support from the COST Association. Such consultation contributed to a productive discussion about the cities of tomorrow at European and international level beyond 2020.


55

Conferences and Events

COST Get Together

9

October

Brussels, Belgium

COST at the World Research and Innovation Congress – Oceans

15-16 OCTOBER

Lisbon, Portugal

COST organised a special event to mark the launch of the COST Association and the transition to Horizon 2020, the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It was an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the contribution and work of all the key stakeholders who have shaped COST’s history over the years, and especially to recognise the main actors who were involved in the transition process, enabling COST to enter a new European context. The event brought together various internal and external stakeholders, high-level representatives from the European Commission, COST National Coordinators, research advisors, representatives from other research funding organisations, COST Actions researchers and the COST Association staff.

COST was a partner of the World Research and Innovation Congress - Oceans. The Congress covered a series of topics, such as: • important policy issues facing oceans research; • Horizon 2020 funding opportunities; • international cooperation and partnerships, with special emphasis on trans-regional networks, ocean partnerships and the Iceland Oceans Cluster; • the future of marine research. COST was represented by Dr Ángeles Rodríguez-Peña, President of the COST Association; Dr Deniz Karaca, COST Science Officer specialising in Marine Science; and Prof. Luís Pinheiro, MC member of COST Action ES1301 - Impact of Fluid circulation in old oceanic Lithosphere on the seismicity of transfOrm-type plate boundaries: neW solutions for early seismic monitoring of major European Seismogenic zones (FLOWS).


Conferences and Events

56

COST at the 6th European Innovation Summit

17-20 NOVEMBER

Brussels, Belgium One of the most burning topics within the European Union at the moment is how to stimulate innovation – or rather, how to stimulate innovation and thereby economic growth, competitiveness and societal well-being. This question is strongly connected to the capacity to encourage the various key players (research and academia, private sector and policy makers) to act together and come up with new ideas, concepts and products that will ultimately foster smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. COST was actively involved in the 6th European Innovation Summit, teaming up with K4I to organise a policy breakfast and participating in two sessions (The Next Generation Innovators and Towards a better European Transport System). The Summit highlighted the importance of ’A Mandate for Innovation in Europe’, which emphasises the strong belief that innovation should be a top strategic priority in the European Union’s new institutional cycle as well as forming the centrepiece of a revised Europe 2020 strategy - Knowledge4Innovation (K4I).

Highlights of the event: Bottom-up vs top-down innovation: How much funnelling and prescription can ingenuity endure? Hosted by Victor Negrescu MEP, the breakfast debate focused on the top-down way of setting research priorities at European level compared to bottom-up initiatives and covered all research topics. The next-generation innovators Hosted by Brando Benifei MEP and Victor Negrescu MEP, the session introduced young researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs sharing their own stories on innovation, start-ups and risk perception in Europe – all key factors in boosting economic growth. COST Targeted Network Sci-GENERATION, represented by Professor Thomas Schäfer (Chair of the Action) was part of the panel, highlighting the importance of efficient administration that universities should strive to provide in order to manage and scale up young researchers’ ideas. Dr Monica Dietl, Director of the COST Association, was also part of the panel.


COST in the Headlines 4 MAY

12 MAY

TGAC host ‘NGS Data after the Gold Rush’ with European partners The SeqAhead-COST Action aims to develop a coordinated action plan for the scientific community to assist with the rise of NGS data, using state-of-the-art bioinformatics. Establishment of a strong European network of NGS Institutes, data-analysis and informatics, will facilitate and stimulate the exchange of data, protocols, software, experiences and ideas. Distributing this knowledge and expertise via combined education and publication programs, such as TGAC’s workshop, unites bioinformaticians, computer scientists and biomedical scientists, harnessing their expertise to bring NGS data management and analysis to new levels of efficiency and integration.

The Times of Malta University Matters - The importance of seagrass In an interview with Patricia Camilleri for University Matters on Campus FM 103.7, Dr Joseph Borg describes what seagrass habitat is and its importance to the marine environment in Maltese waters. He also outlines the main objectives of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action entitled Seagrass. He discusses the kind of pressures seagrass habitat is under and the importance of providing the scientific basis for estimating and preserving the goods and services provided by European seagrass ecosystems.

The Genome Analysis Centre

27 MAY

Luleå University of Technology, Sweden Wood Technology hosted an international wood conference - COST Action FP1407 More research is needed on the heat treatment of wood because there are still problems with the method. To scale up the wood treatment from a lab environment to industrial production also poses a challenge, says Dick Sandberg, Professor in Wood Technology at Luleå University of Technology.

18 JULY

International Innovation Avian aggravation - COST Action ES1304 “ParrotNet, a European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action, is a research network comprised of scientists, researchers and practitioners interested in invasive alien parrots, and the environmental and societal challenges they pose. […] ParrotNet plans to create a virtual European Monitoring Centre (EMC) to address these issues, tracking all invasive parrot species to facilitate the characterisation of risk-profiles. Building upon current systems, the EMC will combine different datasets on species distribution under one roof to facilitate better analyses of parakeet spread.”


59

COST in the Headlines

21 JULY

RMIT University, Australia Smart weather prediction system for disasters COST Action ES1206 “The EU COST Action ES1206 aims to stimulate knowledge transfer and data sharing throughout Europe and address new and improved capabilities from concurrent developments in both GNSS and atmospheric communities, to improve short-range weather forecasts and climate predictions. One of the large-scale projects in the EU COST Action ES1206 is focusing on Advanced GNSS tropospheric products for monitoring severe weather events and climate. RMIT is the only Australian institution collaborating on the project. “The collaborative partners in the European research project have expertise, infrastructure and interests in significantly different environmental sciences, which become mutually beneficial in this new RMIT-led research project,” Professor Hearne said.”

14 AUGUST

12

SEPTEMBER

Scientists can, for example, use colors in images to estimate the types of light sources and, thus, the energy efficiency of a particular city. Researchers could use the data to compare the lighting and the economic health of a city as well. […] The atlas is a collaboration of UCM, MediaLab-Prado, Spanish Light Pollution Research Network, European Cooperation in Science and Technology’s Action Loss of the Night Network, Crowdcrafting, Celfosc and AstroMadrid.

Scientific ties that bind Collaboration is becoming easier. Advances in information and communication technologies with cheaper and easier travel makes linkages easy. Technology also enables researchers building relationships and networks. […] Palmer says Europe’s approach serves as a good example. The European Cooperation in Science and Technology, COST, offers an inter-governmental framework for collaboration. COST funds researchers across fields and networks. It also promotes researcher mobility, short-term scientific missions and researcher training schools across Europe.

NASA Space Station Sharper Images of Earth at Night Crowdsourced for Science

University World News

15

SEPTEMBER

HPCwire The future of ultrascale computing under study – COST Action IC1305 The scientific objective of NESUS is to study the challenges presented by the next generation of ultrascale computing systems. These systems, which will be characterised by their large size and great complexity, present significant challenges, from their construction to their exploitation and use. “We try to analyse all the challenges there are and see how they can be studied holistically and integrated, to be able to provide a more sustainable system,” noted Jesús Carretero, full professor in the UC3M Department of Computer Science and coordinator of the European Union’s important COST Action.


59

COST in the Headlines

2

OCTOBER

SEPTEMBER

Europe Launches Ultrascale Computing Initiative – COST Action IC1305 Funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), NESUS Action seeks to establish an open European research network that pursues sustainable strategies for ultrascale computing. The first step will be to identify synergies at the cross-section of HPC, large scale distributed systems, and big data with an emphasis on programmability, scalability, resilience, energy efficiency, and data management.

Biomedical applications of terahertz self-mixing interferometry COST Action BM1205 Continuous improvements in terahertz QCL technology will lead to devices operating at higher temperatures and consequently more robust and compact self-mixing instruments for tissue characterization. In future work, we will investigate the origin of contrast in biological tissues based on water content and distribution, and we will assess the innate molecular response at terahertz frequencies. A clearer understanding of these factors will guide us towards discriminating a variety of skin pathologies.

15

HPCwire

SPIE

3

DECEMBER

The Poultry Site Norway Joins EU Research on Chicken Mites COST Action FA1404 COST Action on chicken mites (FA1404-Improving current understanding and research for sustainable control of the poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, (COREMI)) is chaired by Professor Olivier Sparagano (UK), and the programme currently has members from more than 17 European countries. [‌] COST action will be an important networking platform to encourage European cooperation in research on chicken mites.


60

COST in numbers

COST in numbers

2014 370

COST Actions

367

Training schools

2,524

Short-term scientific missions (STSM)

45,000

European researchers involved

â‚Ź130,000

Average annual budget of a COST Action

â‚Ź300 million

COST budget (from Horizon 2020 for a 7-year period)

Running COST Actions by science and technology area Legend Natural sciences Mathematics Computer/information sciences Physical sciences Chemical sciences Earth/environmental sciences Biological Sciences Engineering/technology Civil engineering Electrical engineering Mechanical engineering Chemical engineering Materials engineering Medical engineering Environmental engineering Biotechnology Nanotechnology

90 1 23 11 13 34 8 106 13 14 4 9 19 15 8 7 17

Medical and health sciences Basic medicine Clinical medicine Health sciences Medical biotechnology

60 9 22 18 11

Agricultural sciences Agriculture, forestry, fisheries Animal and dairy science Veterinary science Agricultural biotechnology

52 29 5 8 10

Social sciences Psychology Economics and Business Educational sciences Sociology Law Political science Social and economic geography Media/communications

50 2 6 2 11 4 7 11 7

Humanities History/archaeology Languages/literature Philosophy/religion Arts

12 4 4 2 2

COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) - represent COST full Member Countries that fulfil the Horizon 2020 widening eligibility conditions, being either an EU Member State or an Associated Country in connection with the EU Framework Programme. Inclusiveness Target Countries include: Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Republic of Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey. Short-term scientific missions - these missions (Interlaboratory Exchange Visits) aim to strengthen the existing COST Actions by allowing scientists to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST Country to foster cooperation, learn a new technique or take measurements using instruments and/or methods not available in their own institution/laboratory. They are particularly intended for earlystage researchers.


61

COST in numbers

Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy Number of proposals coming from ITC countries

ITC participation in running Actions 60%

120

2014 100

55%

80

50%

60

45%

40

40%

20

35% 30%

0 2011-1

2011-2

2012-1

2012-2

2013-1

2013-2

2011

2014-1

Number of ITC researchers

2012

2014

2013

Total number of proposals

2600

900

2400

800

2200

700

2000

600

1800

500

1600

400

1400

300

1200

200

1000 2011-1

2011-2

2012-1

2012-2

2013-1

2013-2

2014-1

100 0

Number of early-stage researchers involved in COST Actions 20000 18000 16000 14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 2011

2012

2013

2014

2011-1

2011-2

2012-1

2012-2

2013-1

2013-2

2014-1


62

COST in numbers COST Actions addressing societal challenges

79

Health, demographic change and well-being Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research, and the Bioeconomy Secure, clean and efficient energy

47 21 6

Smart, green and integrated transport Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials

130 13

Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens

6

All actions referring to at least one of the societal challenges

212

All actions not referring to at least one of the societal challenges

158

Total number of Actions in 2014

370

Country participation in running Actions over the period of 2014

Women participating in COST activities

COST Member Countries Austria Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France fYR Macedonia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta The Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom

291 330 91 184 245 127 251 319 160 283 356 135 369 331 240 116 288 362 88 150 67 149 338 282 315 342 231 245 170 239 368 296 314 237 369

2011

2012

2013

2014

36%

36%

38%

39%

42%

42%

% Women all COST Countries

% Women in ITC

44%

43%


COST Association Avenue Louise 149 1050 Brussels, Belgium Tel. +32 2 533 38 00 Fax. +32 2 533 38 90 communications@cost.eu www.cost.eu COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

© COST Association 2015

COST Annual Report 2014  

COST Annual Report 2014  

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