First Call for Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) Grants

Deadline for submission: 20 December 2019

Grant Period: 1 January – 20 April 2020

Funding: Up to EUR 2,000

STSM duration: between 5 and 30 days

Number of STSM grants: 4

What is a STSM?

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits, which aim to support researchers’ individual mobility, strengthening existing networks and fostering collaboration. STSMs are intended especially, but not solely, for young researchers.
The scope of an STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action CA18126 Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City, defined in its Memorandum or Understanding (|Name:overview )

Who can apply?

STSMs are open for PhDs, PostDocs, and advanced career researchers from institutions in COST participant countries. 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 topics related to the main goals and objectives of COST Action CA18126 Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City.

Particular consideration will also be given to candidates moving from/to COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC): Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.

International COST participants may host STSM researchers from European COST countries but may not apply for STSMs themselves.

What can you apply for?

You can apply for a STSM lasting between 5 and 30 days. The STSM covers part of the travel expenses and living allowance. The cost of research materials is not eligible for consideration as part of the grant.

If you are affiliated with an institute from an ITC, you can apply for a pre-payment of 50% of the grant. You must keep in mind that the transfer of that 50% of the grant can only take place after the mission has started – the STSM host receives a notification requesting you to confirm to the Grant Holder  that the STSM started on schedule. Without the host confirmation, the pre-payment will not be done.

The second 50% of the grant will be paid only after the STSM has been completed.

The following funding conditions apply and must be respected:

  • up to a max of EUR 2000 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;
  • up to a max of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation & meal expenses;

STSM activities must occur in their entirety within the dates specified in this call.

Each application must define the goal of the proposed STSM, explain how it will contribute to the scientific remit of COST Action CA18126 Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City, calculate planned expenses, and describe outputs planned as result of the STSM (see: Supporting Documents below).

For ECIs, two support letters by advanced career researchers are required.

For detailed rules regarding eligibility and financial support, please see the relevant sections of the COST Vademecum – (

How to apply?

The application process is as follows:

  1. Applicants must carefully read the funding rules detailed in COST Vademecum and STSM User Guide.
  2. Applicants must submit an application via an e-COST account. If you do not have an e-COST account you need to create an account, which will include 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 complete, submit and download their STSM application online at:
  3. Deadline for application of this first call: 15 December 2019.

List of supporting documents to be submitted for evaluation are:

  • STSM application (in pdf)
  • CV (including a list of academic publications – if applicable)
  • Letter of Support from the Applicant’s Home Institution
  • Written agreement from the Host institution that the STSM applicant can perform the activities detailed in the STSM work plan on the agreed dates.

4. STSM Panel organizes assessment of the STSM proposal.

5. 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.

6. After the STSM, the investigator submits a Scientific Report to the STSM Host and STSM Coordinator. The Applicants are required to submit a Scientific Report and the Host Approval of the Scientific Report within 14 days after the end of STSM via eCOST. The submission of the supporting documents is mandatory or the Grant is cancelled. 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.

7. STSM Coordinator and Action Chair approve the final report. The Grant Holder executes payment to STSM Applicant.

More in-depth information about the application process can be found at the STSM User Guide (

Criteria for awarding a STSM Grant

STSM funding will be awarded according to the COST key principles of excellence, inclusivity and balance.

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, and arguing clearly 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).
  • The publication/output potential of the research carried out – based on the STSM work plan and detailed publication/output plan (1-5 points).
  • For ECIs, the support provided by senior colleagues.

STSM Selection Panel

Three members of the STSM Selection Panel will assess each application:

Chair: Klaske Havik or Vice-Chair: Susana Oliveira

STSM Coordinator: Kinga Kimic

One Core Group member of COST Action 18126 Writing Urban Places.

Additional Information

Kinga Kimic – STSM


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