Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)
Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM) consist of a visit to a host organization located in a country different to that of the researcher for specific work to be carried out and for a determined period of time.
STSMs aim to support individual mobility of researchers, strengthen existing networks and foster new collaborations. STSMs are particularly, but not exclusively, intended for Young Researchers under the age of 40. An STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the Blastocystis under One Health COST Action CA21105, in particular the Capacity Building Objectives listed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). In addition, STSMs should enable Grantees to learn new techniques and gain access to specific data, tools and / or methods that are not readily available in their home institutions / organisations.
The Call for STSM applications is open throughout the running Grant Period. The second Grant Period runs until 31/10/2024.
The Blastocystis under One Health COST Action CA21105 funds networking activities that specifically pertain to the objectives of the working groups and the Action.
Who can apply
The STSM Grant Applicant(s) are Action participants, i.e., Management Committee members, Management Committee Observers, Working Group members, ad-hoc contributors to a COST Action, with a primary affiliation to a legal entity located in a COST Full or Cooperating Member country, a COST Near Neighbour country or a European RTD Organisation (for details, please see https://www.cost.eu/about/members/ with Annex I – Level A: Country and Organisations table and https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA21105/).
STSM Grant Applicants shall be engaged in an official research programme as a PhD Student or postdoctoral fellow or employed by, or affiliated to, an institution, organisation or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research. The institutions / organisations / legal entities where Applicants pursue their main strand of research are considered the Home Institutions. The Host Institution is the institution / organisation that will host the STSM Grantee. The Home and Host Institution should be located in different countries.
Applicants are responsible for obtaining the agreement of the Host Institution before the submission of their application.
Criteria for awarding STSM Grants
The selection of successful STSM Grant Applicants will take into account the scientific scope of the proposed mission and how the mission can support the Action in achieving its scientific objectives. STSM applications will be evaluated against their coherence with the Research Coordination and Capacity Building Objectives of the Blastocystis under One Health COST Action CA21105 MoU, taking into account the COST Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy, according to the following criteria:
- Does the STSM foster collaboration and / or establish new scientific contacts;
- Is the STSM a tool for the exchange of know-how, i.e., researchers either exchange expertise during the planned scientific visit, acquire practical skills in the use of a unique “technology” not available at their Home Institution, or learn new theoretical methods or experimental approaches;
- Is the STSM timely with respect to the Action Work & Budget plan;
- Is the scientific quality of the proposed STSM high and is the work plan for its realization well justified;
- Is the budget breakdown reasonable and coherent with the work plan?
- No previous STSM by the same Applicant;
- No previous STSM in the same Grant Period by the same Home / Host laboratory, to ensure fair distribution of opportunities across the network;
- Geographical distribution of Applicants;
- Prioritization to Young Researchers;
- Gender balance;
- Impact on the Applicant’s career.
STSMs must meet the following criteria:
- They must have a minimum duration of 5 calendar days, including travel;
- STSMs must be implemented in their entirety within a single Grant Period and always within the Action’s lifetime.
The COST Association and the Grant Holder of the Action cannot be considered as being an STSM Grantee’s employer. Grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security, and pension matters.
How to apply
Applicants must carefully read the Annotated Rules for COST Actions Annex 2. Applications shall be submitted online in e-COST using the dedicated forms available (for details see Grant Awarding User Guide) at least 21 days before the anticipated start of the STSM. Applicants must upload their CV in their e-COST profile.
The content of the application shall include:
To be filled in e-COST:
- Start and end date (within the active Grant Period, i.e., no overlap across two consecutive Grant Periods);
- Budget requested by the Applicant;
- Information about the Host Institution and contact person.
To be uploaded to e-COST:
Application form (template available on e-COST) describing: Goals, description of the work to be carried out by the Applicant, expected outcomes and description of the contribution to the Action MoU objectives.
For guidance, the application shall include the following:
- Motivation statement by the Applicant including benefits and capacity to complete the proposed STSM;
- Project title;
- Background and objectives:
- Purpose and objectives (immediate and longer-term);
- State of the art and new knowledge or / and experimental innovations to be brought by the proposed research, including a list of relevant references;
- Justification for the Host Institution selection;
- Benefits for the Home institution.
- Work plan:
- Details of the methods / techniques and experiments to be carried out including an anticipated timetable of the experimental work; if the STSM duration is more than a week, the work plan should be detailed for each week.
- Expected results, potential or immediate application(s);
- Dissemination plans:
- Publications, conferences, workshops, visibility of the results;
- Specify if there is intention to apply for dissemination tools (ITC Conference Grants, Dissemination Conference Grants).
- Contribution to Blastocystis under One Health objectives:
- Specify the Action objective(s) to which this STSM will contribute (please refer to the specific Research Coordination and Capacity Building Objectives listed in the MoU);
- Briefly describe the Applicant’s involvement in the COST action (if applicable);
- Briefly describe the benefits for the Action in general and for its working groups in particular.
- Confirmation by the host of the agreement from the Host Institution to receive the Applicant;
- Recommendation letter / Letter of support from the Home Institution;
- CV of the Applicant with list of publications.
Reporting and claim for payment from the Grant
Once the STSM activity has ended, the Grantee submits the required reports and relevant documentation in e-COST within 30 days after the end date of the activity or 15 days after the end of the Grant Period, whichever date comes first, and claims the payment by submitting the report via e-COST.
The required report / documentation for claiming a STSM Grant is:
- Report to the Action MC on the work developed, main achievements of the STSM and planned future follow-up activities.
For guidance, the report shall include the following:
- Purpose of the STSM;
- Description of the work carried out during the STSM;
- Main results obtained;
- Future collaboration with the Host Institution (if applicable);
- Foreseen publications / articles resulting from the STSM;
- Potential impact of the STSM on the Grantee carrier path;
- Confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM;
- Other comments (if any).
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. STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission. A STSM Grant is a contribution for travelling, accommodation and subsistence expenses, implementation of the project, delivery of the report to the COST Action MC and overall effort of the Grantee. The maximum amount is 4000 EUR per Grant.
Grants are paid by the Grant Holder Institution after the completion of the activity and approval of all required reports / documentation. However, STSMs Grantees may request up to 50% pre-payment of the approved Grant. This amount is subject to availability of funds and approval by the Grant Holder Institution. The request for pre-payment shall be submitted to the Grant Holder Manager. In cases when the Grant Holder approves a pre-payment of up to 50% of the Grant for an STSM, the amount is paid by the Grant Holder at any time before or during the duration of the STSM.
Successful STSM Grantees must properly acknowledge their COST financial support, received through the Blastocystis under One Health COST Action CA21105, in their published work (paper, proceeding) as well as on the presentation slides for any work resulting from the STSM. To acknowledge COST please follow the available guidelines. To acknowledge the Blastocystis under One Health BlCOST Action, the logo has to be put on each presentation slide / poster.
Please add the following acknowledgement “Part of this work was supported by the COST Action CA21105 Blastocystis under One Health”. Send a copy of the article, abstract or other to firstname.lastname@example.org.