COST - Scientific Cooperation on Researchers' Terms: A Study of Finnish Participation

Marja Nissinen, Pirjo Niskanen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


COST is a pan-European framework for research collaboration in science and technology. In the 1990s, COST has experienced a tremendous growth. This study surveys the experiences of Finnish COST participants, focusing on their motives and the results of their participation. It also illuminates the range of activities as well as the strengths and weaknesses of COST cooperation. The subject is treated with a view to COST's role in European research collaboration in order to identify its target group and to assess its utility. Special attention is paid to characteristic features that distinguish COST, for example, from EU Framework Programmes. The results of the Finnish study are compared with those of Swedish and Danish COST evaluations. COST is adept at generating new international contacts and partnerships. It offers easy access to state-of-the-art knowledge and enables wide exchange of data in an interdisciplinary context. Its openness, flexibility and bottom-up approach attract scientists from universities and research institutes especially; firms participate less in COST. National project organisations should be encouraged to act as intermediaries through which industrial interests could be better infused into COST cooperation. The self-financing aspect of COST - its funding covers only the coordination expenses of collaborative activities - is a controversial point: some participants see it as a guarantee of independence and non-competitiveness, whereas others consider it a hindrance to joint projects. These empirical findings are mainly drawn from a survey carried out within a sample of 220 respondents. Statistical analysis was complemented with open-ended qualitative interviews, during which 21 people were interviewed personally. Others answered through a structured questionnaire. The report contains a general introduction to the organisational structures and functional principles of COST, based on a literature review.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages105
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-5380-2
ISBN (Print)951-38-5379-9
Publication statusPublished - 1999
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesVTT Publications


  • COST
  • research programmes
  • international cooperation
  • European Union
  • technology policy
  • R&D
  • networks
  • evaluation
  • Finland


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