What Are STSMs?
Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits aimed at supporting researchers’ individual mobility, strengthening existing networks and fostering collaboration. STSMs are intended especially, but not solely, for young researchers.
An STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action “SharingAndCaring”, while enabling those partaking in the missions to establish new partnerships, learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and / or methods not available in their own institutions / organisations.
Who can apply?
STSMs are open for PhDs, PostDocs, and advanced career researchers employed at institutions in countries participating in “SharingAndCaring”, or at approved institutions. STSMs must be performed between COST countries – researchers cannot apply for an STSM within their own country.
Priority will be given to Early Career Investigators (ECI) (maximum 8 years since obtaining their PhD at the time of application) and PhD students working on socio-technical aspects of the collaborative economy.
Particular consideration will also be given to candidates moving from/to COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs), which include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.
International COST participants may host STSM researchers from European COST countries but may not apply for STSMs themselves.
Awards throughout the annual grant period (for the first year: 1st May 2017- 30th April 2018) will be made to support scientific excellence, and to support a variety of researchers in terms of gender, career stage, affiliation, and nationality.
What can you apply for?
You can apply for a short term scientific mission of the duration between 5 and 90 days (and up to 180 days if the applicant is an ECI. The STSM will be a fixed grant to cover part of the travel expenses and living allowance. The cost of research materials is not eligible for consideration as part of the grant.
Please note that the awarded grant will be paid only after the STSM has been completed – therefore the applicant must have approval and prior financial support e.g., from their own institution.
The following funding conditions apply and must be respected:
- up to a max of EUR2500 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;
- up to a max of EUR160 per day can be afforded for accommodation & meal expenses;
- for ECIs, a max amount of EUR3500 can be afforded to the Grantee for STSMs with a duration of between 91 & 180 days – For ECIs partaking in STSMs with a duration of between 5 & 90 days, the limit is EUR2500; STSM activities must occur in their entirety within the dates specified in this call.
STSM awards may be combined with other funding sources, but these must be acknowledged in the application.
In your application, you will have to describe the goal of the proposed STSM, how it contributes to the scientific remit of the COST Action “SharingAndCaring”, the planned expenses and the outputs planned as result of the STSM. For ECIs, two support letters by advanced career researchers will be required.
For detailed rules regarding eligibility and financial support, please see the relevant sections of the COST Vademecum (http://www.cost.eu/download/COSTVademecum).
When can you apply?
You can apply until Midnight (Brussels Time) on the 15th of June 2017.
Another call for applications will be announced in a few months’ time.
How can you apply?
This is a step-by-step guide to applying for an STSM and the criteria by which STSM applications will be assessed. More in-depth information can be found at the COST Vademecum (http://www.cost.eu/download/COSTVademecum). Please contact Luigina Ciolfi (STSM coordinator) (l.ciolfi[AT]shu.ac.uk) if you have any queries.
The application process is as follows:
- Applicants must carefully read the funding rules detailed in Section 7 of the COST H2020 Vademecum, Section 7 (http://www.cost.eu/download/COSTVademecum)
- Applicants must submit an application using e-COST https://e-services.cost.eu/user/login/STSM. If you do not already have an e-COST account you will first need to ‘create an account’ – which will include providing the details of the bank account where the grant will be lodged if your STSM application is approved and the STSM successfully completed.
- Applicants must obtain a letter of invitation from the Host Institution confirming that they can undertake the STSM on the given dates should their application be approved.
- Applicants must complete, submit and download their STSM application online at: https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm.
- Applicants must send their application form and the relevant supporting documents for evaluation, to Dr. Luigina Ciolfi (l.ciolfi[AT]shu.ac.uk).
The list of supporting documents to be submitted for the evaluation are:
- Letter of invitation to the applicant from a senior Researcher at the Host institution.
- The submitted STSM application form (downloadable when the online application is submitted – see 4 above).
- A letter including an overview of the proposed activities that will be performed, a workplan for the visit, a description of the proposed contributions to the scientific objectives of the “SharingAndCaring” Action, an outline of the host’s scientific expertise/resources in support of the STSM. The letter should be maximum 8 pages, the font should correspond to Times New Roman size 12 pt with single line spacing and standard margins of 2 cm.
- A letter of support from the Applicant’s Home Institution.
- A Full C.V. (including a list of academic publications – if applicable).
- The “SharingAndCaring” STSM panel organises assessment of the STSM proposal: STSM selection team assess the proposal (see ‘STSM Selection Criteria’) – may seek expert but impartial advice to inform their decision. If approved, the STSM coordinator sends application and approval to Grant Holder & Action Chair for final check.
- The Grant Holder sends the applicant a grant letter to sign and return. The STSM should not be started until this letter has been signed and returned.
- After the STSM, the investigator submits a scientific report to the STSM Host and STSM coordinator within 30 days of completing the STSM. This must include: the purpose of the mission; description of work carried out; description of main results/outputs; plan of future collaborations with Host (if applicable); planned publications resulting from STSM (if applicable); confirmation of successful STSM by Host.
- STSM Coordinator and Action Chair approve the final report. The Grant Holder executes payment to STSM Applicant.
Criteria for Awarding STSM
STSM funding will be awarded according to the COST key principles of:
Criteria for evaluation will be as follows:
- The relevance and application of the research to the field of the Action – a detailed work plan will help determine if the scientific aims of the work will be relevant and applicable to the Action’s aims (1-5 points).
- The quality and clarity of the proposed research – The STSM application should be of high quality, arguing clearly and cogently the importance and timeliness of the research (1-5 points).
- The choice of Host institution – the applicant must give specific scientific reasons for visiting their chosen Host institution. We will also be tracking the geographical distribution of the Host institutions to ensure there is an evenly-spread network for knowledge transfer. Involvement of ITC countries will be a plus (1-5 points).
- The home institution of the researcher – We will take into account the number of applications from each institution to ensure a fair spread of researches across the network. Involvement of ITC countries will be a plus (1-5 points)
- The profile of the researcher – We will take into account the researcher’s potential of successfully completing the STSM on the basis of their previous work and achievements commensurate to their career stage. In line with COST policy, we will preferentially award STSMs to early career investigators (PhD + <8 years). This should not discourage more experienced researchers from applying (1-5 points).
- For ECIs, the support provided by senior colleagues
- The publication/output potential of the research carried out – Based on the STSM work plan and detailed publication/output plan (1-5 points).
The “SharingAndCaring” STSM Committee
Dr. Luigina Ciolfi (Chair)
Prof. Sergio Nasarre-Aznar
Dr. Vasilis Kostakis