The Conference 25 years of Estonia`s Membership in COST was held in the Estonian Academy of Sciences on 16 May 2022. See the programme here.
After the opening words from the Vice President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences Professor Mart Kalm, the COST Director Dr Ronald de Bruin emphasized that Estonia is particularly strong in innovation.
Ülle Must, former COST Contact in Estonia and member of the CSO, pointed out in her presentation „Estonia`s first 25 years in COST – a brief history“ that COST has been from the beginning very much connected with Academy.
The first COST Coordinator in Estonia in 1997 was Professor Mati Karelson, present member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, elected in 2007.
Professor Anu Toots, the first COST Action Chair in Estonia, stressed the agility and trust as the main features of her personal experience in COST.
Professor Tõnu Meidla, University of Tartu, introduced the view of the Scientific Committee on COST Association and Estonia. In his presentation Prof Meidla stressed the sustainability of COST networks.
A thorough overview of the COST impact model, including the impacts and benefits of COST Actions, was provided by Elwin Reimink, COST Association, Data and Impact Analysis Officer of the COST Association.
In the panel, moderated by Dr Innar Liiv, member of the Estonian Young Academy of Sciences, the importance of active participation was pointed out by COST Director Dr Ronald de Bruin.
Discussion with representatives of Estonian Universities and Professor Maarja Kruusmaa, Member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, lead to new insights on how Estonia could get more out of COST and how the Universities could contribute for further spreading of information about COST.
Estonia supports the three priorities formulated in the COST Strategic Plan:
1) Widening European Participation
2) Empowering young researchers and innovators
3) Fostering interdisciplinarity.
For all these three, participants in COST Actions position themselves very well for successful applications in follow-up grant schemes of Horizon Europe. COST serves as an effective pre-portal to Horizon, including ERC and thematic programs, with a documented success rate of 37% for previous participants in COST Actions. This demonstrates the importance of networking, coaching of talent and brain circulation, all in the heart of the COST mission.
Estonian Academy of Sciences also welcomes the recent introduction of the COST Innovator grant scheme, an add on grant to foster exploration of innovation potential of the outcome of the COST Actions. Strong connection between Estonian Academy of Sciences and COST Association was visible also in 2018 when a COST Infoday was organised in the Estonian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with EURAXESS Estonia network and Estonian Research Council on 7 September 2018. More about the history of Estonian participation in COST here.