What is a STSM?
Short-term scientific missions (STSM) are exchange visits between researchers involved in a COST Action, allowing scientists to visit an institution or a laboratory in another COST Member state, COST Cooperating Member or COST Near-Neighbour Country part of the Action.
Their aim is to foster collaboration in excellent research infrastructures and share new techniques that may not be available in a participant’s home institution or laboratory.
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 / organisation or legal entity 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.
The COST Association and the Grant Holder of the Action cannot to be considered as being an STSM grantee’s employer. STSM grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security and pension matters.
STSMs must have a minimum duration of 5 calendar days that includes travel.
They need to be carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period, and always within the Action’s lifetime.
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.
STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission. A STSM Grant is a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee.
The calculation of the financial contribution for each STSM shall respect the following criteria:
Up to a maximum of EUR 3 500 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant.
Up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.
Please note that this is the maximum allowable amount and the allocated budget will depend on the number of received applications. All related expenses need to be carefully justified.
Specific provisions have been introduced to enable researchers from ITCs participating in the COST Action to request a pre-payment of 50% of their STSM Grant when they complete the first day of their STSM.In such case, the representative of the Host Institution shall confirm by e-mail to the Grant Holder that the STSM applicant has officially started the mission on day 1. Only then the Grant Holder can arrange the payment of 50% of the STSM grant.
The remaining 50% of the Grant is payable once the administrative requirements have been satisfied after the STSM.
Here is the list of ITCs (Inclusiveness Target Countries) participating in the NEWFOCUS COST Action CA19111:
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey.
STSM Calls for Applications
There will be 4 STSMs Calls for Applications per Grant Period.
FIRST GRANT PERIOD: 01/11/2020 – 31/10/2021
First Call (01/04/2021-30/04/2021) (01/04/2021-07/05/2021)
This call is running during the month of April 2021. The deadline of this First Call was on the 30th April 2021. The deadline of this First Call has been extended to the 7th May 2021.
Second Call (01/07/2021-31/07/2021) (01/01/2022-30/04/2022)
This call is running during the months of January and April 2022. There will be two calls for STSM applications, with the application deadlines of 23rd January 2022 and 30th April 2022.
1. Application Submission
● Obtain the written agreement of the Host Institution on the possibility to implement the STSM on a given title and dates.
● Complete the online STSM application form at https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm including:
- ○ STSM title, dates, applicant’s details and bank details, financial data for travel and subsistence expenses, detailed Workplan Summary and planned outcomes of the STSM
○ The Working Group to work with during STSM period.
2. Evaluation and Selection
● All submitted applications will be evaluated and ranked by a panel composed of the STSM Coordinator, the Action Chair or Action Vice-Chair, and the involved WG Chairs.
● The aim will be to support all applications received. However, in the case of insufficient budget, the panel will apply the following criteria in selecting the applications:
- ○ Institutions active involvement in the Action – I.e., research tasks / activities (presenting input document in the MC or WG meetings, publications and acknowledging to the COST Action, attendance of meeting, etc.)
- ○ Resources at the Host Institutions – I.e., Software and hardware
- ○ ITC* (Inclusiveness Target Countries) and ECI** (Early Career Investigators)
Note, (i) Applications from ITCs, ECIs, and MC Members’ teams (with respect to Substitute Members) will be given higher priority; and (ii) Institutions that already enjoyed or are going to enjoy a STSM in the current Grant Period will have lower priority.
● The STSM Coordinator will sends all selected applications to Grant Holder & Action Chair for approval. The list will also be made available to the Steering Committee of the Action and announced on the Action website.
● The Grant Holder will send a Grant Letter to all successful applicants, to sign and return. Following receiving the signed letter, the STSM will commence.
3. Post STSM
● Following the completion of the STSM, a scientific report must be submitted to the STSM Coordinator, the WG Chair, and a supervisor at the Host Institution within 30 calendar days from the end date of the mission. The report should contain the followings:
- ○ STSM title
- ○ STSM applicant name and affiliation, supervisors
- ○ Host institution details including the research group and the supervisors
- ○ Period
- ○ Working group
- ○ Purpose of the STSM
- ○ Detailed scientific and technical description of the work carried out during the STSM period with supporting materials
- ○ Description of the main results obtained
- ○ Future collaboration with the Host institution (if applicable)
- ○ Foreseen publications/articles resulting from the STSM (if applicable)
- ○ Other comments (if any)
- ○ A single page document with interesting photos, etc. on the STSM for publicity use
○ A personal statement on the benefit of the STSM.
● Failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days will result in the withdrawal of the awarded grant.
● The Scientific Report will be evaluated by the senior researchers affiliated to the Host Institution and the WG Chair prior to sending them to the STSM Coordinator. The STSM Coordinator is responsible for the final approval of the Scientific Report and informing the Grant Holder on the STSM on its outcomes.
● Following submission of the approval of the Scientific Report by the STSM Coordinator, the Grant Holder will initiate the payment of the grant.
* ECIs are individuals who are within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate (full time equivalent).
** Here is the list of ITCs participating in the NEWFOCUS COST Action CA19111: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey.