Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) are exchange visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, strengthening existing networks and fostering collaboration between researchers. A STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action, whilst at the same time allowing those partaking in the missions to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and / or methods not available in their own institutions / organisations.

 

Applicants and Host Institutions 

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 or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research. The institutions / organisations 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 following table shows the scenarios available to eligible STSM applicants:

Home Institution Host Institution
From a Participating COST Country To another Participating COST Country
To an approved NNC institution
To an approved IPC institution

To an approved Specific Organisations
(EC and EU Agencies, European RTD Organisations, International Organisations)

From an approved NNC institution

To a Participating COST Country

From an approved European RTD Organisation

To a Participating COST Country

 

STSM Criteria

STSM must respect the following criteria:

  1. They must have a minimum duration of 5 days.
  2. They must have a maximum duration of 90 days.
  3. STSM need to be carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period and always within the Action’s lifetime.

Specific additional provisions have been adopted by the CSO to encourage the participation of Early Career Investigators (ECI) in STSM. To qualify for these specific provisions, the following conditions apply:

  1. The mission must have a minimum duration of 91 days.
  2. The mission must have a maximum duration of 180 days.
  3. STSM performed by ECI need to be carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period and always within the Action’s lifetime.

Grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security and pension matters.

 
STSM Financial Support

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 as determined by the Action Chair, Vice Chair or the STSM Coordinator / Committee. STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to performing a given mission. The Grant is a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee. 

The calculation of the financial contribution for each STSM must respect the following criteria:

  • up to a maximum of EUR 2 500 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant.
  • up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.

For ECIs, the calculation for an increased financial contribution must respect the following criteria:

  • up to a maximum of EUR 3 500 in total can be afforded to ECIs for missions with a duration of between 91 and 180 days;
  • up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.

The Action Chair, Vice Chair or the appointed STSM Coordinator / Committee can approve differentiated country rates to cover accommodation and meal expenses based on the perceived cost of living in the host country.

 

Applications

Step 1 – Formal agreement and on-line registration by the applicant

The applicant must obtain the written agreement of the host institution, before submitting an application. The on-line STSM registration tool can then be filled. This is to be done at least three weeks before the beginninng of the STSM. 


Step 2 – Formal STSM application and annexes

Send the completed online application form as e-mail attachment together with the following necessary supporting documents:

  • CV
  • list of publications
  • motivation letter
  • letter of support from the host institution/scientist
  • full work plan discussing the methodology and the relation to the objectives of the Action (max 2 pages)

Such doucments are to be sent to:

 
Step 3 – Assessment of the STSM

The selection of successful STSM applicants considers the scientific scope of the proposed mission and how the mission can support the Action in achieving its scientific objectives. 

The STSM Coordinator will perform the scientific and budgetary assessment of the applications considering the Action objectives and define an acceptable funding level.


Step 4 – Approval from the Management Committee

Once positively assessed by the STSM Coordinator and approved by the Management Committee, the Grant Holder needs to receive the approval from the Management Committee and then send a grant letter generated from e-COST to the applicant.

 

After the STSM

The grantee is required to submit a scientific report (3-5 pages) to the host institution, MC Chair the STSM coordinator for approval within 30 days after the end date of the STSM containing:

  • Purpose of the STSM
  • Description of the work carried out during the STSM
  • Description of the main results obtained
  • Future collaboration with the host institution (if applicable)
  • Foreseen publications/articles resulting from the STSM (if applicable)
  • Confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM
  • Other comments (if any)

The failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days will effectively cancel the grant.

The MC Chair (or the STSM coordinator) is responsible for approving the scientific report and informing the Grant Holder that the STSM has been successfully accomplished.
After receipt of the approval by email, the Grant Holder will execute the payment of the grant.

 

Further information 

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the detailed information provided in the COST VADEMECUM document as well as on the COST STSM website.

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