(Last update 23/10/2012)

COST – the acronym for “European CO-operation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research” – is the longest running and widest European intergovernmental framework for coordination of research activities supported by national funds. Established through an exchange of letters initiated by the President of the Council of the European Communities on 4 November 1969 and 24 July 1970, and the Resolution of 23-24 November 1971 by the Conference of European Research Ministers it has been subsequently developed and supported by further COST Ministerial Conferences. COST is presently usually referred to as “COST: European Cooperation in Science and Technology”.

Although very successfully operating for more than 40 years COST still does not have a legal personality and consequently cannot become a contractor in the Framework Programmes : hence the need of having an implementing agent for COST. The lack of legal personality of COST was carefully examined by the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) during 2007, 2008 and 2009. (The legal status – Belgian Law – Questions & Answers).

On 8 June 2010 at the initiative of Germany and Spain a meeting to set up the COST Office Association (COA) as an independent legal entity in the form of an international non-profit making Association under Belgian law was convened in Brussels at the Permanent representation to the European Union  of Germany. (Preparatory letters 1st GA – Summary Conclusions 1st GA).

COA was set up on 1 July 2010 by 10 COST Member States as founding members: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Turkey.

The COA Statutes envisages an Administrative Board and a General Assembly. Professor Francesco Fedi, former President of the COST CSO (, was elected  President of the Administrative Board and of the General Assembly of COA. He resigned on 25/09/2012 (COA Doc. 11/12, COA Doc. 12/12)  and left the Presidency in the hands of the COA Vice President Professor John Bartzis.  Other members of the Administrative Board are: Dr Almudena Agüero Prieto, Dr Michel Gorlicki,  Ms Vera Stercken.

With the publication of its Statutes and of the names of the members of its Administrative Board in the Moniteur Belge on 17 September 2010 COA has been officially established as an International non – profit Association (AISBL) under Belgian Law (COA Publication Moniteur Belge – Royal Decree)

Greece and Israel also joined COA at a later stage (Preparatory Documents 2nd GA – Summary Conclusions 2nd GA).

The list of names of the representatives of the present 12 members of COA is contained in Members of COA GA.

Other COST countries are expected to join COA in the near future. All COST countries have been informed about the procedures to be followed to join COA. COST countries wishing to join COA should:

a) send the Statutes by post to the COA Presidency (COST countries have to sign the Statutes on the last page and to initial any other page);

b) send by post to the COA Presidency a proxy or a letter of authorization to the person who signs the Statutes;

c) inform the COA Presidency of the name of the representative of the COST country in the General Assembly of the COA.

The future steps of COA are the following:

a) COA as an AISBL to carry out the activities envisaged in Art.3 of its Statutes on behalf of the Member States which are members of COA.

b) COA and the legal Status of COST.  To achieve a legal Status for COST, COA should be officially appointed by the COST CSO as the legal representative of COST.

c) COA as COST Implementing Agent. The appointment of COA as the COST Implementing Agent will require a separate subsequent decision of the COST CSO if and when COST will deem this appropriate.

Art.18 of the COA Statutes states that: “The funds of the Association come from contracts, grants, subsidies, gifts and donations from any natural person or legal entity (including the European Union), after acceptance by the General Assembly”. All members of the Administrative Board and of the General Assembly have been invited to investigate on such possibilities.

The Summary of Conclusions of the meetings of the COA General Assembly (GA) and the Summary of Decisions of the meetings of the COA Administrative Board (AB) are available in the respective folders.

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