Short Term Scientific Missions

Short Terms Scientific Missions are exchange visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, strengthening existing networks and fostering collaboration between researchers. The aim of an STSM as defined by COST Annotated Rules is to contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action. These Missions aim at strengthening the existing COST Actions by allowing scientists to go to an institution or laboratory in another COST country to foster collaboration, to learn a new technique, or methods of conducting an experiment using tools / instruments / procedures not available in their own institution/laboratory.

Throughout the Action, STSMs will be set up within and between WGs. At least five STSMs per year will take place to stimulate collaboration between members of different WGs.

STSM application procedure

Note: An applicant must have a profile on the e-COST platform. After that, it is necessary to follow the steps detailed below:

  • Obtain the written invitation / agreement letter of the host institution before applying.
  • Complete and submit the online application form that you can find at the e-COST platform [Grant applications section] (Go to Grant applications -> Apply for grant, and choose the appropriate grant).

The documents you will need include:

  1. Grant application: This form includes details on the (i) goals of the STSM; (ii) associated workplan; and (iii) expected outputs and contribution to the Objectives and Deliverables of the COST Action. The template can be downloaded from the e-COST platform and also from this webpage (see documents below).
  2. Invitation/Agreement Letter: An Invitation Letter signed by a senior researcher affiliated to the Host institution.
  3. Letter of Support: A Letter of Support signed by a senior researcher from the Home institution (a very short confirmation).
  4. Motivation Letter: A brief letter summarising the main scientific goals and need for the STSM, as well as its relevance for the applicant, home/host institutions, the MultiplEye Action, etc.
  5. Applicant’s CV: A full CV including a list of academic publications, if applicable (max. 2 pages).

You are highly encouraged to read the Annotated Rules of the COST Action and the Grant Awarding User Guide prior to submission of an application. If any doubts remain, you can always contact either the Action Chair or the Grant Awarding Coordinator.

Remember, a clear connection to the Action objectives and current activities must be pointed out in the Application form. 

When planning the STSM, pay attention to the fact that the COST Office requests some period for administrative procedures between the Assessment committee approval and STSM start. Also, the STSM should end at least 3 weeks before the end of the Grant Period (31st October 2024 for the second Action year).

Please read the requirements within the specific STSM calls, as some may change depending on the call.

  1. STSM approval

After the deadlines indicated in the call, the Grant Awarding Coordinator will make sure that the submitted applications are correct, and organise the evaluation of the applications, jointly with the COST Action committee.
For a positive evaluation, the application must contribute to the goals of the current Grant Period.
The committee will make a list of approved applications and perform the budgetary assessment of the applications. Every STSM successful applicant will receive a Grant letter generated from the e-COST system, which is coordinated by a Grant Holder Manager.

  1. Upon the STSM completion:

The grantee is required to submit a short scientific report 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.
– Foreseen publications/articles resulting from the STSM (if applicable).
– Confirmation by the host person of the successful execution of the STSM.

The STSM report template can be downloaded here . It must be submitted through the e-COST platform.
Failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days will effectively cancel the grant.

The payment of the grant will be executed after approval of the scientific report by the Grant Holder Manager.

  1. STSM evaluation criteria:

Grant applications will be evaluated against the following criteria and indicative list of questions:

CV of the Applicant
Applications of ECIs and PhD students are given priority.

Workplan & Schedule
– Is the workplan well defined and structured?
– Is the schedule of activities realistic?

Expected outcome
– Which WGs of MultiplEye are potentially interested in the results of this STSM?
– Is the STSM focused on a specific scientific objective(s) of MultiplEye?
– What are the expected outcomes of the STSM (publications, generation of datasets, new knowledge and experience relevant for the Action,…)?

Scientific Networking
– What is the support offered by the Host Institution to the applicant?
– Could the work described in the STSM be performed without researcher mobility?
– Is it expected that the STSM provides new networking activities among the Home and Host Institutions (e.g., exchanges, new knowledge regarding data collection, experiment setup, data analyses, or even setup/joint participation in other collaborative projects)?

Financial Plan
Consider an average of 60 to 80 EUR per night reasonable, in addition to travel costs. Of course, the costs will depend on the country, but please try to keep the expenses rationale. If this is not the case, you will be asked to provide an explanation/justification.

COST Policies
– Is the applicant from an Inclusive Target Country (ITC)?
– Is the host from an Inclusive Target Country (ITC)?

During the Grant Period
– Fulfil your Work Plan and the STSM goals.
– Document your STSM, take photos or videos.
– At the end of your STSM, prepare a blog post about your experience.

Important Note: Virtual Mobility Grants

When the STSM call is open and you are unable to travel physically but the activities you are planning to conduct do not require on site presence (i.e., computational or modelling activities; data analysis of the Action for a specific report or activity etc.), you can apply for the Virtual Mobility Grant.

Virtual Mobilities

Virtual Mobility (VM) consists of a collaboration in a virtual setting among researchers or innovators within the COST Action, to exchange knowledge, learn new techniques, etc. VM should benefit to the MultiplEYE COST Action, as it:

  • uses a flexible tool to implement virtual activities inside the network
  • contributes to European leadership in knowledge creation and increasing its innovation potential.

It also benefits the Grantee to develop the capacity in virtual collaboration and networking in a pan-European framework.

Note that the reasons for applying to the VM Grant instead of the STSM Grant are restricted to: political travel constraints, inability to obtain the VISA, delicate situations related to child care or personal health issues that disable a person to travel.

Importantly, the budget upper limit for a VM is much lower than for the STSMs (= 1500 EUR), as the costs can cover zoom licenses and similar expenses. Please plan your budget reasonably.

VM application procedure

The VM application is similar to the STSM application, but the grant itself can be found in the separate section within the grant application processes of the e-COST platform.

Before applying, please:

  • obtain the written invitation / agreement letter of the host institution.
  • complete and submit the online application form.

The documents you will need for the application are the same as the documents for the STSMs (see above), but please bear in mind that requirements will be specified in each call. In order to receive the approved funding, the applicant must submit the grant report upon completion of the VM.

The VM application form can be found here or can be downloaded from the e-COST platform.

The VM grant report form can be found here.

You are highly encouraged to read the Annotated Rules of the COST Action and the Grant Awarding User Guide prior to submission of an application.

If any doubts remain, you can always contact either the Action Chair or the Grant Awarding Coordinator.