Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM)

Short-term scientific missions (STSM) are exchange visits for researchers within FIT4NANO. This exchange programme offers researchers the opportunity to share techniques and gain skills that may not be available at their home institution or laboratory.

The goal of STSMs is to build a network in order to initiate specific scientific projects in line with MoU objectives, exchanging expertise and transferring knowledge between participants.

Find all the rules and conditions below:

The STSM committee for the evaluation of the applications and final approval is constituted by:


STSM Coordinator: José María De Teresa (CSIC-University of Zaragoza, Spain)

STSM Vice-coordinator: Catarina Pinto-Reis (University of Lisboa, Portugal)

Evaluation for WG1: David Dowsett (Lion Nano-Systems, Luxembourg)
Evaluation for WG2: Adam Gali (Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary)
Evaluation for WG3: Meltem Sezen (Sabanci University, Türkey)

STSMs are evaluated by the STSM committee using the following criteria and should be considered by the applicants in their motivation letter: 

  • Scientific and technological quality of the project (50%)
  • Methodology and feasibility (20%)
  • Fit to the objectives of FIT4NANO in the grant period (20%)
  • Collaboration between different WGs (10%)
Grades:
  • A (>90%)
  • B (80-90%)
  • C (70-80%)
  • D (<70%)

All proposals within the same grade will be ranked according to the mark as well as the following aspects: gender balance, home and/or host laboratory belonging to an ITC country, number of applications from the same country and/or laboratory.

The following table shows the scenarios available to eligible STSM applicants:

Eligible Home Institute & Host Institution combinations for STSMs © COST

 

Home Institution (STSM grantee’s place of employment)
Host Institution (institution/ organisation that will host the STSM grantee)

GOALS: building a network in order to initiate specific scientific projects in line with MoU objectives, exchanging expertise and transferring knowledge between participants.
OUTPUTS: STSM reports, collaborative projects, joint publications, knowledge exchange, transfer of skills and techniques, networking.

An STSM can be carried out any time of the year, but cannot be spread across two Grant Periods. Thus, an STSM has to be completed before the end of a GP. The minimum duration of an STSM is 5 calendar days, travel days included. The maximum duration is six months.

A 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 must respect the following criteria:

  • Up to a maximum of EUR 3500 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
  • Up to a maximum of EUR 300 can be afforded for travel costs

The financial contribution of EUR 160 per day is applicable for STSM from 5 to 20 days. For STSM longer than 20 days, a fixed financial contribution of EUR 3500 is provided (including the travel costs). The appointed STSM Committee may decide on differentiated country rates to cover accommodation and meal expenses based on the perceived cost of living in the host country. In order to maximize the number of STSM stays that can be funded within one Grant Period, the financial support for each STSM may be lowered.

During the duration of the STSM, neither the MC, nor the COST Association nor the Grant Holder may be considered as an employer. The grantees must make their own arrangements for all health, social, personal security, taxation and pension matters.

All applicants must carefully read the current funding rules detailed in Section 8 of the COST Vademecum. This document is available at: http://www.cost.eu/Vademecum.

STSM stays should be planned well in advance to allow for early and economic bookings (not applicable during CORONA! Please only book once you are sure your STSM will take place). Follow-up STSMs should have shorter durations in order to give preference to new STSMs. In case of similar scientific scopes, STSMs in economic locations will be preferred over more expensive locations. For cost-intensive STSMs, applicants might have to cover part of the expenses by other means.

Due to the COVID situation, if an STSM is cancelled, the STSM committee will evaluate if it is possible to reuse the budget for another STSM or for additional ITC conference grants.

  1. The STSM coordinator publishes a call encouraging applications from the FIT4NANO members
  2. The Fit4NANO member informs themselves about the rules (on this page as well as in the COST documents: Section 8 of the Vademecum (http://www.cost.eu/Vademecum) and the COST STSM userguide (http://www.cost.eu/STSM_userguide). Applications have to conform with all rules stated in the COST Vademecum, e.g. minimum duration of 5 days
  3. The FIT4NANO member applies for an STSM in e-COST
  4. The STSM coordinator checks the applications for formal validity
  5. The evaluation of STSM applications and selection of Grantees is performed by the STSM Committee. The decision is based on the selection criteria and on the available funds in the Grant Period.
  6. The STSM coordinator communicates the outcome of the vote to the Grant Holder (GH) & Core Group and the applicants are informed about the outcome of their application
  7. The STSM grantees send an e-mail to the GH (a.berens@hzdr.de) with the following information:
    1. Final dates of the STSM (including travel dates, especially if dates have changed between application and acceptance)
    2. Booking information of travel and accommodation
    3. Year of PhD in case of ECI status
    4. Request of pre-financing, if eligible (only applicable for ITC countries)
  8. The STSM grantee books transport and accommodation in accordance with COST rules (see COST Vademecum, Section 8.4.), and sends the receipts to the GH (a.berens@hzdr.de).
  9. All information listed under 7 has to be sent to the GH at least 10 days before the start of the STSM. If the grantee does not comply, the GH may cancel the STSM.
  10. The GH checks booking reservation and revises the STSM grant if necessary (if actual transport costs are less than the 300€ grant). The GH informs the grantee about the revised grant. The GH sends the Grant Letter to the STSM grantee via eCOST
You will need the following documents to submit your application in e-COST:
  • CV, including a list of publications
  • motivation letter (including the workplan, the WG involved, and the expected contribution to the aims of FIT4NANO in the grant period)
  • letter of support from the Home institution
  • letter of support of the Host institution

Furthermore, the e-COST system will ask you for the following information:

  • the Action number
  • title of your planned STSM
  • start and end dates of the STSM
  • key academic details of applicant
  • the work plan
  • the bank details of applicant
  • the host institution
  • requested grant amount (amount for travel and subsistence)

STSM motivation and workplan Template (.docx, 12 kb)

  1. COST supports researchers from Inclusiveness target countries (ITC) by enabling them to request a pre-payment of 50% of their STSM Grant once they complete the first day of their STSM. In such case, apply for it beforehand via e-COST and contact the GH (a.berens@hzdr.de). Furthermore, on the first day of the STSM the Host Institution representative must send an e-mail to the Grant Holder confirming that the STSM grantee started their STSM. Then, the Grant Holder can arrange the 50% payment of the grant. The remaining 50% of the Grant will be paid after the STSM once the administrative requirements have been fulfilled.
  2. The grantee submits the scientific report within 30 days of finishing the STSM to the STSM Coordinator and to the Host Institution. Otherwise, the grant can be cancelled.
  3. The STSM coordinator & Host institution approve the scientific report or ask the grantee to amend and resubmit it.
  4. The grantee uploads the report and Host Institution approval letter to eCOST.
  5. The grantee sends a short summary (~200 words and a photo) for the FIT4NANO website to the GH (a.berens@hzdr.de)
  6. The GH arranges the payment of the grant within 45 days after the end of the STSM
  7. The GH publishes the grantee’s STSM summary on the website

Grant Period 1 – from 01 April 2021 to 31 October 2021

In total, 12 STSM applications were approved in GP1.

Completed STSMs
  • Prof. Meltem Sezen from Sabanci University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center, Turkey, to Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands (12 days)
  • Monserrat Alvarez, ICFO, Spain, to Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany (20 days)
  • Dr. Rosá Córdoba from Institute of Molecular Science (ICMol), Spain, to Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Germany (19 days)