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The R&D project COSINUS (Cryogenic Observatory for SIgnatures seen in Next-generation Underground Searches) aims to develop a cryogenic scintillating calorimeter using an undoped NaI-crystal as target for direct dark matter search. Dark matter particles interacting with the detector material generate both a phonon signal and scintillation light. While the phonon signal provides a precise determination of the deposited energy, the simultaneously measured scintillation light allows for particle identification on an event-by-event basis, a powerful tool to study material-dependent interactions, and to suppress backgrounds. Using the same target material as the DAMA/LIBRA collaboration, the COSINUS technique may offer a unique possibility to investigate and contribute information to the presently controversial situation in the dark matter sector. We report on the dedicated design planned for the NaI proof-of-principle detector and the objectives of using this detection technique in the light of direct dark matter detection.