Short-term Scientific Missions
WHAT ARE STSMs?
Short-term scientific missions (STSM) are exchange visits aimed at supporting individuals (students, researchers, professionals from COST Member /Cooperating Member or Near-Neighbour Country involved in IG16215) mobility, allowing an individual to visit and learn from an institution or laboratory in another COST Member1/Cooperating Member2 or Near-Neighbour Country3 than the country of their affiliation, strengthening existing networks4 and fostering collaboration in excellent research infrastructures and share new techniques, gain access to specific data or methods that may not be available in their home institution or laboratory. These scientific missions may last up to three months and have a minimum duration of 5 days. Participation of young researchers and innovators is particularly encouraged.
More information can be found in the Annotated Rules for COST Actions (https://www.cost.eu/uploads/2022/12/COST-094-21-Annotated-Rules-for-COST-Actions-Level-C-V1.3.pdf), in particular in sections A 1 and 2.
STSM applicants must be engaged in an official research programme as a PhD Student or postdoctoral fellow or can be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution, organisation or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research. The institutions/organisations or legal entities where applicants pursue their main strand of research are considered as Home institutions. The Host institution is the institution/organisation that will host the successful applicant.
COST Innovators grants have a duration of 1 year. Therefore, there will only be one STSM call. The call is now open from 1 March until 15 April 2023 and approved STSMs should be completed one month before the end of the IG (30 September 2023).
The total budget for STSM is €10 000 and the number of STSM grants that will be funded is 4 to 5.
An STSM Grant is a fixed financial contribution which takes into consideration the budget request of the applicant and the outcome of the evaluation of the STSM application. Please note that STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission, being only a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee. Applicants are encouraged to evaluate their budget request based on a high benefit/cost ratio and justify it based on the perceived cost of living in the host country/city.
The calculation of the financial contribution for each STSM Grant must respect the following criteria:
• Up to a maximum of EUR 2 000 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant for exchange visits with total duration between 5 and 90 days.
• Up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.
• Up to a maximum of EUR 400 can be claimed for travel costs.
STSM awards may be combined with other funding sources, but these must be acknowledged in the application. Furthermore, double funding of the activities must be avoided.
EVALUATION AND SELECTION OF APPLICANTS
Proposals will be assessed within ten working days after the end of the deadline by a panel composed by the Chair, the Vice-Chair of IG16215 and a member of the IG team. STSMs will be awarded based on scientific merit and available budget. Applications will be evaluated following four criteria, each of those marked from 0 to 5.
• Relevance of the scientific mission to IG16215 (threshold ≥ 3). The applicant should highlight how the proposal will contribute to the objectives and goals of IG16215. The scientific quality of the mission will also be evaluated.
• Relevance of the mission for the applicant, the host and all relevant institutions (threshold ≥ 3). The benefits for all parties should be stated clearly in the application, for example, use of equipment not available in the home institution; exchange of know-how; training.
• Relevance of the budget (threshold ≥ 2). The amount asked should be justified, with estimation for transport, accommodation and meals subsidies taking into account the cost of living of the host country. Extra costs such as personal insurance, civil liability insurance and bench fees, if requested by the host institution, should be justified. Other financial contributions that will be available to the applicant should be detailed.
• Relevance to COST policies (threshold ≥ 0). This criterium will be evaluated by the Chair and only for proposals that pass all of the other thresholds. Marks will be awarded to applications that fulfil some or all of the COST policies (favouring gender balance (+1)5 , Early Career Investigators (ECI) (+1)6 and Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) or Near Neighbour Country (+1)).
1. If you do not have one, create a COST profile.
2. Fill the online application form at https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm. The following information is needed: i. Action number (IG16215); ii. Title of the planned STSM; iii. Start and end dates of the STSM; iv. Applicant’s details, including academic profile and workplan; v. Applicant’s bank details; vi. Host institution details; vii. Requested budget.;
3. Upload the following documents to e-COST:
a. Application form (template available on e-COST) describing: goals, description of the work to be carried out by the applicant, expected outcomes and description of the contribution to the IG objectives;
b. A short CV including up to three relevant publications / achievement (maximum 1 page in total);
c. A letter of invitation from the host institution confirming that they can undertake the STSM on the given dates should the application be approved;
d. A letter of support from your home institution.
The selected researchers should wait for the official invitation from the Grant Holder before booking any travel arrangements.
AFTER THE STSM
4. You have 30 days after completion of the STSM to submit your final report in e-cost. This must include: the purpose of the mission; description of work carried out; description of main results; plan of future collaborations with Host (if applicable); planned publications resulting from STSM (if applicable); confirmation of successful STSM by Host. Please note that failure to submit the scientific report, the proof of evidence of the stay and the Host Approval of the scientific report within 30 days will cancel the grant.
No reimbursements can be made before the final report has been approved by the Chair and Vice-Chair.
5. Additionally, you should send a brief text for dissemination with a picture illustrating your work to the Science Communication Manager (Dr. Paula Menino Homem email@example.com) with the Chair as CC.
The COST Association or the Grant Holder Institution are not liable for any incidents occurring during an STSM. The applicant should purchase any insurances requested by the Host Institution. It is of the responsibility of the representative of the host institution to inform the applicant in due time of all the administrative requirements necessary.
Request to prepay 50% is possible for applicants from ITC but decision lies with GH Institution. The representative of the Host Institution must confirm by e-mail to the Chair that the STSM applicant has officially started the mission on day 1. The reimbursement of an STSM grant can be made up to two months after the end of an STSM; It is of the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that he/she has sufficient funds to pay for the STSM and wait for reimbursement.
Any publication that may result from an STSM should acknowledge IG16215: “This article is based upon work from IG 16215, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). www.cost.eu.” and sent to the Chair to be archived in the website.
1 Non Inclusiveness Target Countries (non ITC): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and ITC: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, The Republic of Moldava, Montenegro, The Republic of North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine
3 Near Neighbour Countries (NNC): Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus*, Egypt, Faroe Islands, Jordan, Kosovo**, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine***, Russia****, Syria, Tunisia
5 If one gender is under represented (less than 40% of all proposals), those proposals will get +1.
6 1 point if the applicant is an Early Career Investigator.
* As of 2 March 2023 until further notice, measures ae taken to suspend cooperation with Belarus for the execution of the COST Actions and COST activities. Among these measures, participation and eligibiity of COST Action participants affiliated to a legal entity established in Belarus are suspended for all COST Actions and COST activities.
** This designations without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1959 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
*** This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a state of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.
**** As of 6 May 2022 until further notice, measures are taken to suspend cooperation with Russia for the execution of the COST Actions and COST
activities. Amongst these measures, participation and eligibility of COST Action participants affiliated to a legal entity established in Russia are suspended for as COST Actions and COST activities.
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