159th meeting of the
Committee of Senior Officials
Bergen, Norway, 27 - 28 May 2004
At the invitation of the Norwegian government, the COST Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) held its 159th meeting in Bergen on 27-28 May 2004. The meeting was the last one to be chaired by Mr Gösta DIEHL, Director at the National Technology Agency of Finland (TEKES), who has held the CSO Presidency since 1998. Mr Diehl is succeeded as the CSO President by Professor Francesco FEDI (Italy), elected unanimously at the Committee's previous meeting in February.
After the welcoming address by the Lord Mayor of Bergen, Herman Friele, Ms Helle Hammer, Secretary of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, presented the Committee with a broad outline of Norway’s economic prospects.
Dr Kari Kveseth, Director of International Research from the Research Council of Norway gave a further presentation of the Norwegian research policy, in particular focussing on its international co-operation.
Following an introduction by the Chair of the COST Technical Committee on Social Sciences and Humanities, Bogdan VAN DONINCK, the Committee held an exchange of views on mutual benefits originating from the recently more intensified cooperation between COST and the ESF, since the ESF took responsibility from early this year as implementing agent to COST, providing the scientific management of COST Actions. Thereto the Commission, in its role as executing institution of the Sixth RTD Framework Programmes, concluded in 2003 a specific support contract with the ESF.
Both Prof. Klaus GRETSCHMANN (Director General at the General Secretariat of the Council, in whose DG C is the COST Secretariat) and Prof. Bertil ANDERSSON, the ESF’s new CEO as from 1 January 2004, welcomed the above development of increased synergy – however emphasising that this development does not aim at merging or taking over –which responded to the spirit of conclusions of European Council meetings referring to the achievement of an European Research Area.
In this context, the Committee heard a presentation of the views of the Commission on its future role in COST, whereas it no longer provides the scientific and technical secretariat, which is now provided by the COST Office under the aegis of the ESF. The modalities of an active participation from the Commission in COST will be further elaborated on the basis of a discussion paper “Towards a New Partnership between COST and the Commission”.
CSO elects a new Vice-President for 2004-2007
The Committee elected Mr Stefan CAIREN from Sweden to succeed Dr John Bartzis, Greece, as the Vice-President of COST for the next three years as from 1 October 2004.
COST launches nine new Actions
The Committee agreed in principle to the launching of the following new COST Actions :
- TIST (Telecommunications, Information Science and Technology)
COST 291 : Towards Digital Optical Networks (Greek proposal)
The main objective of the action is to focus on novel network concepts and architectures exploiting the features and properties of photonic technologies, to enable future telecommunication networks to accommodate all kind of end-to-end services.
COST 292 : Semantic Multimodal Analysis of Digital Media (UK proposal)
The main objective of this Action is to push forward the frontiers of current research on semantic analysis, inference and conceptualisation for high-level annotation and retrieval of digital audiovisual content.
COST 293: Graphs and algorithms in communication networks (GRAAL) (Spanish proposal)
The main objective of this Action is to elaborate global and solid advances in the design of communication networks by letting experts and researchers with strong mathematical background meet peers specialised in communication networks, and share their mutual experience by forming a multidisciplinary scientific co-operation community.
COST 728: Enhancing meso-scale meteorological modelling capabilities for air pollution and dispersion applications (UK proposal)
The main objective of the Action is to develop advanced conceptual and computational frameworks to enhance significantly European capabilities in mesoscale meteorological modelling for air pollution and dispersion applications.
- Agriculture and Biotechnology
COST 859: Phytotechnologies to promote sustainable land use management and improve food chain safety (Swiss proposal)
The main objective of the Action is to provide a sound understanding of the absorption/exclusion, translocation, storage or detoxification mechanisms of essential or toxic mineral elements, as well as organic contaminants, and to prepare the best use of plants for sustainable land use management and improve food safety.
COST 861: European Network for Pig Genomics (PigNet)(French proposal)
The main objective of the Action is to increase the knowledge of the organisation, expression and regulation of the genes involved in pig development, health, reproduction, and product quality.
COST D33: Nanoscale Electrochemical and Bio-Processes (Corrosion) at Solid-Aqueous Interfaces of Industrial Materials (German/Swedish/French proposal)
The main objective of the Action is to develop the understanding of biochemical processes at solid-aqueous interfaces leading to a universal approach to all biofouling related issues.
COST E45 : European Forest Externalities (EUROFOREX) (Spanish proposal)
The main objective of the Action is to concentrate on the contribution of wood durability to sustainability through the development of systems for quality assurance and performance classification of 'modified wood and wood products' as alternatives to wood treated with traditional wood preservatives. These activities will aim to improve the efficiency of resource utilisation from production, during service life through to disposal.
COST E46: Improvements in the understanding and use of de-inking technology
The main objective of the Action is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of de-inking technology in line with the introduction and use of new printing methods and vehicles, increased customer expectations and environmental considerations.
COST extends duration of six Actions
The Committee agreed to a 12-month extension of the following ongoing COST Actions :
COST 340 : Towards Transeuropean Intermodal Transport Network : Lessons from History
COST 346 : Emissions and Fuel Consumption from Heavy Duty Vehicles
COST 348 : Reinforcement of Pavements with Steel Meshes and Geosynthetics
COST A19 : Children's Welfare Justice Developments in Europe
COST E23 : Biotechnology in the pulp and paper industry
COST E25 : European network for a Long-Term Forest Ecosystem and Landscape Research
and a prolongation of 18 months of the following Action:
COST D17 : Oligomers, Polymers and Copolymers via Metal Catalysis
World-wide interest to participate in COST Actions
The Committee approved requests from research institutes in Australia, Canada, China, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine to participate in specific ongoing COST Actions in the fields of Chemistry, Transport and Medicine and Health.
Next CSO meeting in Brussels
The 160th meeting of the Senior Officials Committee is scheduled to take place in Brussels on 1 and 2 December 2004.
For further information call the COST Secretariat at 285.68.96/79.14.
 COST is the oldest and widest European intergovernmental network for cooperation in research.
Further information on COST can be found on the website: http://consilium.europa.eu/cost .