THE Spanish Secretary of State for Research, Felipe Pétriz, announced in Palma yesterday that the next EU framework programme envisages increasing the budget for the international Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme by 40 million, rising from €210 million at present to €250 million.

Mr Pétriz, who made this announcement during the COST Ministerial Conference, held as part of the Spanish Presidency of the EU, explained that the positive assessment of the COST programme “has led the EU to contemplate an increase of 40 million”.

COST is an intergovernmental framework for cooperation in science and technology, made up of the EU countries and the eight associated countries, whose goal is to promote cooperation without borders. It supports projects in which researchers from a minimum of five countries take part.

Currently, COST includes projects on such diverse matters as studying light materials for construction, cellulose biotechnology, preventing death in bee colonies and analysing the presence of women in European literary culture.

Spain is participating in 200 of the 300 projects being carried out, a role that will be strengthened when COST's new president takes over, as the role will be filled by the deputy director of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, María Ángeles Rodríguez.