State Secretary Martina Hirayama participated by video conference on 4 May in the 2021 Ministerial Conference of COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). The main items on the agenda were a discussion on COST's role in the European Research Area and the adoption of a ministerial declaration. Through its participation, Switzerland reaffirmed its commitment as a full and active member of COST and the European Research Area.
The COST Ministerial Conference on 4 May was attended by European ministers for research and innovation, including State Secretary Martina Hirayama, and other representatives of COST member countries. The Ministerial Conferences are held every five years and always feature a ministerial declaration. The declaration adopted for this year’s 50th anniversary reflects on past COST activities and successes and sets priorities for the coming years.
Ms Hirayama noted that Switzerland, as a COST founding member, has promoted international exchange between researchers for 50 years. The programme’s scientific networks, known as COST Actions, provide an opportunity for young researchers in particular to build and expand their collaborative reach. Switzerland appreciates the bottom-up nature of COST Actions, allowing researchers to set their own research priorities and pursue new scientific ideas.
Ms Hirayama also briefed the COST partners about Switzerland’s national support programme for researchers wishing to participate in COST Actions, which is successfully run by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
In addition, the Ministerial Conference discussed COST’s role within the European Research Area. Switzerland views COST as a key research funding instrument which can serve to advance scientific excellence and consolidate the European Research Area.
The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) framework was established by a ministerial decision in 1971 as one of the earliest initiatives for research and innovation collaboration among European countries.
Switzerland is a founding member and remains one of the currently 38 full COST members. As a research and innovation funding instrument, COST creates a space for researchers to exchange ideas across borders and build networks based on their own research interests. COST Actions are intended to complement national research funding. The financial, scientific and administrative aspects of COST in Switzerland are managed by the Swiss National Science Foundation.