Short term scientific missions (STSMs) should contribute directly to the scientific objectives of SMIRES. They are a chance for researchers to visit other participating research institutions to benefit from the host’s different technologies, expertise and methods, which are not available at their home institution. The aim of the missions is to facilitate valuable collaborations with research groups involved in SMIRES applying techniques unavailable in their own laboratories, with mutual benefit towards joint publications (acknowledging SMIRES and COST) and the perspective of attracting additional funding. A STSM should specifically contribute to the objectives of at least one of the Working Groups (WG) of SMIRES. Applicants are encouraged to contact WG leaders prior to application to be familiarized with priorities of each WG to maximize benefits of STSM for SMIRES. STSMs are not awarded for exchanges between two laboratories within the same country. STSM grants (i.e., as COST funds) cannot be spent on the preparation of proposals for funding from any source (national, European – e.g. COST, Horizon2020 or international).

Eligible applicants must be engaged in an official research programme as a PhD Student or postdoctoral fellow or specialists employed by, or affiliated to, an institution or legal entity which performs research related to SMIRES and is actively contributing to fulfilment of the main objectives of SMIRES. Early Career Investigators (ECI, i.e., less than date of PhD + 8 years) and colleagues coming from less research-intensive COST Member Countries and inclusiveness target countries (ITCs) are particularly encouraged to apply. The selection of successful STSM applicants considers the scientific scope of the proposed mission and how the mission can support SMIRES in achieving its scientific objectives. Priority will be given to projects supporting the development of new collaborations between applicant and host supervisor.

Number of supported applicants: for the second year, up to nine applicants for a STSM will be supported across 3 different calls. All STSM applications will be evaluated within 21 days following the deadline of the respective call. All STSM supported during the current financial year need to be completed by the end of March 2019.

Duration and financial support for STSM. A STSM must last for a minimum of 5 days and up to a maximum 90 days. For ECIs a STSM can optionally last 91-180 days. The maximum financial support is 2,500 € for the whole support period (and 3,500 € for ECIs in case of applying for duration >90 days). A typical grant ranges between 1000 and 2000 (ECI) €. The grant will be paid based on approval of a final report prepared by the scientist supported by STSM.

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. Estimated expenses should accurately reflect living costs in the host country, rather than necessarily requesting the maximum of €160 per diem.

Application and evaluation process. A STSM applicant is required to prepare:

  • Motivation letter detailing relevance of proposal to SMIRES and the expected outputs.
  • Outline of the research proposal (1-2 pages, maximum of 1000 words excluding references, in English). The outline must be approved by signature by the applicant and the host at the end of the document.
  • Support letter of the host institution.
  • Support letter of the home institution.
  • Curriculum Vitae with list of publications.

All documents must be sent by email to the STSM coordinators (Dr. Petr Paril (paril[at]sci.muni.cz) and Prof. Kazimierz Banasik (kazimierz_banasik[@]sggw.pl) before the deadline of the current call and electronically submitted here (after the applicant has created a valid eCOST profile). Preliminary contacts with the appropriate WG leader are strongly recommended.

Applications are evaluated by the SMIRES core group (Action chair, Action vice-chair, WG leaders, stakeholder committee leader, STSM coordinator and co-coordinator) according to the following criteria:

  • Eligibility and quality of the proposal and relevance of the suggested activities for SMIRES
  • Even distribution of STSMs among different working groups (WG)
  • Compliance with COST guidelines with regard to geographical inclusiveness, gender balance.
  • Priority to support ECIs

Upon acceptance, the grantee will receive an acceptance letter informing about the level of the financial grant given. The grantee has to return this acceptance letter with his/her signature prior to the mission. The grantee will receive a payment request form at the same time.

After the STSM: Reporting and grant payment. After completion of the STSM, the grantee is required to submit a short scientific report to the STSM coordinators within 4 weeks. This report should contain the following information:

  • Purpose of the visit and description of the work carried out during the visit, indicating the first and the last day of the STSM;
  • Description of the main results obtained and projected publications/articles and any future work/collaboration (if applicable);
  • Confirmation by the host institute of the successful execution of the mission (with signature of the local supervisor and/or head of the Department).

Upon approval of the scientific report by the STSM coordinators and the MC Chair, the grant will be paid directly to the grantee or the organizing institute as requested in the application.

Number and dates of calls in current Work and Budget Plan period (one year).

During the period April 2018 – April 2019, three calls will be organized.

Deadlines for application are:
1st call: June 15, 2018
2nd call: September 15, 2018
3rd call: December 31, 2018