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Happy European Youth Day to all COST Early Stage Researchers!


31 Jan 2011



On 31 January 2011, European Youth Day, COST would like to celebrate Europe’s young researchers


Just like their peers in other professions, young European scientists are facing difficult times when trying to establish their careers. The EU has made youth issues one of its priorities as part of the EU 2020 Strategy, in the form of the Youth on the Move initiative. The European Youth Day is a timely appointment to cast light on youth issues and to start a debate on how to guarantee a bright future for them.

Alongside the initiatives organised by the EU on this special day dedicated to the young citizens of Europe, COST would like to take an opportunity to celebrate European young scientists and raise awareness of the difficulties they face when starting a career as scientists or researchers.

A widely accepted deficiency in European research is the lack of opportunity for early stage researchers (those researchers whose career spans less than 8 years since the date of the PhD/doctorate) to develop independent careers and to establish their first research group under their own responsibility. This is a structural problem that leads to a dramatic waste of research talent in Europe. It limits or delays the emergence of the next generation of researchers, who bring new ideas to the European Research Area (ERA).

Junior research posts in Europe mostly come with end dates which open to an uncertain future. The geographical fragmentation of research offers is also a barrier for those young scientists that select specific locations for personal or family reasons. This is why it is also very difficult for young researchers, especially for young female researchers, to cultivate both a career and a family at the same time.

COST makes early stage researchers one of its pillars. The research networks that COST offers are open to young participants as well as more experienced ones, offering the youngsters a great opportunity to learn from senior colleagues. Anticipating the majority of science institutions, COST approved a strategy towards increased support of early stage researchers already in 2007.

The COST strategy towards increased support of early stage researchers includes direct financial support in order to cover participation in COST activities, the possibility to embark on short-term scientific missions, attend training schools and receive conference grants to cover travel, subsistence costs and conference fees.

COST also calls on its networks in order to nominate early stage researchers as Chairs of working groups and encourages young scientists to submit proposals to start new COST networks. In addition, COST considers the gender balance part of its strategic priorities and requires its networks to consider this issue when planning their activities. In order to enable COST initiatives more accessible to researchers with family duties, COST has also approved a family-friendly policy.

With the hope that an auspicious future is held for Europe’s brightest minds, COST hopes to overcome all barriers by way of their contribution to the innovation and knowledge advances of the ERA.



Press contact:

Ms Alessandra Paccamiccio

Public Relations and Communications Officer

COST Office

Tel: +32 (0) 2 533 38 54


About COST:

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is the longest running intergovernmental framework for science cooperation in Europe. COST provides funding for cooperative science and research networking projects called ‘Actions’. Funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme, COST mobilises and connects extraordinary scienti¬c potential within Europe and beyond.