Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos

STSMs Rules

STSM panel:

STSM coordinator: Igor Gasparic (Igor.Gasparic AT [Replace AT with @]

WGLs (or a nominated substitute, e.g. WG deputy leader),

1 Synergy Agent,

pan-European coordinator,

Action Chair



Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) are aimed at supporting individual mobility and at strengthening the existing networks and fostering collaborations by allowing scientists to visit an institution or laboratory in another Participating COST Country or an approved NNC institution or an approved IPC institution. A STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action, while at the same time allowing applicants to learn new techniques or gain access to specific instruments or methods not available in their own institutions. All Action participants are invited to apply - early career investigators (ECIs - less than PhD + 8 years) are particularly encouraged to take part.

The MC allocates for the each grant period (from May until April of the following year) a total budget of circa 30,000 EUR. In period 3 (May 2019 to April 2020), the budget is 24,000 EUR.

STSMs need to take place according to the following rules:

- be a minimum duration of 5 days;

- be a maximum duration of 90 days; up to 180 days for ECI (early stage researchers=up to 8 years after PhD)

- needs to be carried out in their entirety within a single grant period and within the Action's lifetime.

For more details regarding the regulations related to STSM, please refer to the COST Vademecum, section 7: (only 2 pages to read: pp. 35-36)



See Section 8.1 of the Vademecum

Application procedure:

After checking if you are eligible, follow this procedure to apply:

  • fill-in the online application form ( and attach the receipt provided by COST to your application;
  • Submit an Application as e-mail attachment, together with the necessary supporting documents to the STSM coordinator. The Application (up to 3 pages including references; recommended font size 11pts) should contain (hint: state how your application fulfills the evaluation criteria):
    • Motivation statement
    • Own preliminary work leading up to the STSM, including related publications, if applicable.
    • Scientific aim of the STSM, also related to the applicant's own career (e.g. PhD thesis).
    • Work plan of the STSM, justifying duration of stay. Full work plan (study/ research/ training) including the WGs where the application's topic belongs and expected outcomes (publications, data, ...).
    • Contact details of applicant's own affiliation and of STSM receiving party, including name, postal address and e-mail address of STSM host.
    • Justification for the selection of the host institution.
    • Cost estimate and justification (include costs for travel, accommodation and subsistence). Declare other sources of funding or confirm that no other sources of funding are available.
  • Supporting documents to be provided:
    1. Written agreement of the STSM host institution (generally this letter is written by the person in charge of the STSM).
    2. Written support statement from the group leader of the applicant if applicant is ECI.
    3. CV.

The STSM coordinator will send an email to confirm receipt of the proposal.

The application process is permanently open. Remember to apply long in advance, that a trip cannot take place before formal approval and that a trip has to take place within a single grant period.

Note: Applications will be evaluated roughly every two months with the following expected deadlines: middle (around 15) of July, September, November, January, March, May. Remember that applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year and we recommend that they are submitted as early as possible and no less than two months before the start of the STSM. Remember that an STSM cannot start before it is approved.


Once the application is submitted to the STSM coordinator;

  1. STSM coordinator organises assessment of the STSM proposal: STSM panel assesses the proposal (see "STSM Evaluation Criteria") - and may seek expert but impartial advice to inform their decision.
    • Application information made available to Action MC/participants/public are the following:
      • list of successful applications available on Action website
      • One master database maintained by STSM coordinator including evaluation scores and title, accessible to MC members on password-protected page.
      • Brief feedback will be provided to unsuccessful applicants. Appeals on decision can be made by contacting the synergy agents (SA).
      • Application statistics will be discussed at MC meetings and provided to COST Action participants.
    • Applicants can ask for (and justify) an embargo on information linked to their application if they wish.
  2. If approved, the STSM coordinator sends application and approval to Grant Holder & Action Chair for final check
  3. Grant Holder activates the application and sends a Grant letter to the applicant. The STSM should not be started until this letter has been sent. No further action is required from the applicant until the end of the STSM.
  4. After the STSM, submit scientific report to Host and STSM coordinator within 30 days of Mission end: Include purpose of the mission; description of work carried out; description of main results; future collaborations with Host (if applicable); projected publications resulting from STSM (if applicable); confirmation of successful mission execution by Host.
  5. STSM coordinator approves final report and sends approval to Grant Holder
  6. Grant Holder executes payment to Applicant 

Reporting rules and reimbursement:

After the STSM is finished, the grantee is required to submit a short scientific report to the host institution and to the STSM Coordinator for approval within 30 days after the end date of the STSM. For the specific content of this report, please refer to the COST Vademecum. The failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days will effectively cancel the grant. 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. Please note that the reimbursement of STSM grantees will be done after the mission is over and the final report is submitted by the STSM participant.

Unless specifically requested by the applicant, the report (or part of it) of the STSM will be published on the Action website.

Specific provisions have been introduced to enable researchers from ITC participating in the respective COST Action to receive 50% of their STSM Grant when they complete the first day of their STSM. The remaining 50% of the Grant is payable once the administrative requirements have been satisfied. (The person in charge of the STSM at the host institution will need to send a written confirmation to the STSM coordinator to enable the payment of the first 50% of the grant).



Evaluation criteria:

  1. Scientific quality (e.g. proposed outcome)
  2. Feasibility of the proposed project (e.g. suitable host/equipment/technique)
  3. Matching goals, objectives and deliverables of Action (e.g. inclusiveness)

A score will be given for each of the 3 criteria above. The score levels are defined as follows:

1 - Not-competitive 2 - Good 3 - Excellent 4 - Outstanding

The final score will be the sum of the 3 individual scores. Weight factors may be introduced to the individual scores if needed. A threshold for funding will be set by the STSM panel. The evaluation process will be reviewed by the STSM after the first round and changes might be proposed to the MC for future rounds. The STSM will favour new applicants in new institutions. In case of second application the link between the previous mission and the second one needs to be well explained and the outcomes of the first mission need to be shown.

Evaluators may consider the following questions/point to establish their score:

  • Does the mission fit into the objectives of the present COST action?
  • Does the candidate have the competence to make this mission fruitful in the timeframe planned?
  • Is the host institute a suitable place to make the project?
  • The inclusiveness (ITC/ECIs) and gender balance will be included in the score of criterion 3
  • The standing of the applicant will contribute to criteria feasibility (criterion 2) and objectives of the Action (criterion 3)


Financial support rules:

See Vademecum, section 8. Requested resources needs to be justified in your application (e.g. hotel cost), see point 7 of the application.

For all the other rules, regulations and procedures, applicants should refer to the COST Vademecum.