(retrived by vkuncak from http://www.cost.esf.org/index.php?id=833#1686 )
BACKGROUND, PROBLEMS This part should be a introduction to describe, in general terms, why it is desirable to launch the COST Action in question. It should summarise the previous research and the current state of knowledge in the field of the proposal. It could include an analysis of relevant research in the EU Framework Programmes and other European fora. It may be useful also to compare the European research with that in, for example, the USA, Canada, Japan or other parts of the World.
In addition it should explain the reasons for the proposed cooperation with a distinction between the objectives, the expected results and the means to achieve them. As far as possible, this should be done with emphasis on immediate or future applications envisaged, so that even a reader who is not a specialist in the field obtains a clear picture of the expected benefits of the Action.
You may briefly describe also possible complementarity with ongoing or planned research in the EU Framework Programme and other European organisations such as EUREKA, ESF etc., as one of the goals of COST is to avoid duplication of efforts in Europe.
Indicate the background of the proposal, the specific problems the network wants to solve and the goal the network would like to achieve. This part should demonstrate that the proposal addresses real current scientific and or technical issues with a high relevance for European society.
BENEFITS This part should explain the expected benefits of the proposal itselfwithout the networking aspects. These benefits could be societal,scientific or in the field of technology. There may be also other benefits for other areas which should be elaborated here.
OBJECTIVES, DELIVERABLES AND EXPECTED SCIENTIFIC IMPACT This part should clearly indicate what one expects to achieve through the Action in particular what will be the expected impact of this Action.It is very important to explicitly state all the objectives, whenever possible in quantitative terms making it easier to evaluate, how well the Action may achieve its goals. As far as possible, the likely end users of expected results should be clearly indicated. In formulating objectives one has to distinguish between the aims (something toward which effort is directed) and the means to achieve them (methods or ways for accomplishing something). Carefully avoid all specifications of means - e.g. scientific problems to be solved as well as research tasks - as they belong to part d) Scientific programme.
SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMME AND INNOVATION Here the most important research tasks to be carried out should be described (the structure of the work plan), with necessary explanation of how they will lead to achieving the objectives. In particular the innovative elements of the proposals and its originality have to be presented.
You should remember that scientists that have not participated in the preparation are also entitled to join the network at a later stage if their countries sign the MoU. For that reason, the proposal must provide an open and flexible framework making it possible for any interested country to join the Action.
It will greatly enhance the clarity of the proposal if Section D is wholly focused on outlining the scientific content of the Action, while all organisational matters such as setting up Working Groups are dealt with in Section E.
ORGANISATION The main purpose of this part is to give a clear picture of the arrangement of the Action When you have clarified the reasons for the proposed co-operation, you should explain why COST seems to offer the best framework for it, for as compared with, e.g., ESF, ESA, EUREKA or the EU research programmes. This can be explained by describing the advantages or benefits, which should be gained from carrying out your project within the COST framework.
This part should clearly reflect the fact that a COST Action is implemented through the concerted action, what means that the research is carried out in the participating countries and financed by themselves, while COST provides the necessary co-ordination.