COST Action TU 1301 OPEN CALL FOR Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM)


 A Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) gives the opportunity for a research visit of the individuals to the institution in another country in order to foster the collaboration or to learn new technique.

COST action TU1301: NORM for Building Materials will support several STSM’s each year by means of travel grants. This action supports particularly, but not exclusively, the Early Career Investigators (ECI) (PhDs who have no longer than 8 years of experience after receiving their PhD).

Applicants Guide

This applicant’s guide should be read in conjunction with the new COST Vademecum of 2016 (especially the part for STSM, page 30-31)


  1. Terms used in this guide:  

COST Countries: All COST Member States and Cooperating States

35 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Former  Yugoslav  Republic of Macedonia;  and one cooperating state: Israel.

Memorandum of Understanding: (MoU) means the agreement accepted by a minimum of five different COST Member Countries and/or Cooperating State describing the Action objectives and the added value of networking. This document has to be endorsed by any additional COST Member Country or Cooperating State joining the Action.

Early Career Investigators (ECI) is a researcher within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate (full-time equivalent)

Participating COST Countries are member Countries and /or Cooperating State that have accepted the Action’s MoU.

The Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) is the main decision-making body of the COST, responsible for the strategic development of COST. It formally approved the new Actions following the conclusion of each Open Call procedure. Each COST Member Country can appoint up to two representatives to the CSO.

COST Near Neighbour Countries (NNC) are countries approved by the CSO to benefit from dedicated support for the integration of their researchers in COST activities.

NNC approved institution is an institution located in a NNC whose participation in an Action has been approved in accordance with the relevant COST rules.

EU Agencies are any organization governed by European public law, with its own legal personality, establish in the EU to accomplish specific tasks of a legal, technical and/or scientific nature in a given policy field and to support the EU Member States but distinct from the EU institutions.

European RTD Organisation is any intergovernmental scientific organization that is responsible for infrastructure and laboratories whose members are countries, and the majority of which are COST Member Countries or Cooperating State.

International Organization is any organization with a European or international membership, scope or presence, with its own legal personality, governed by international public law or recognized to have value in promoting scientific and technological cooperation, which should contribute to the fulfillment of the COST Mission.

International Partners Countries (IPC) means all those countries that are neither COST Member Countries/Cooperating State nor are they COST NNC.

Approved IPC institution is an institution located in an IPC whose participation in an Action has been approved in accordance with the COST rules governing International Cooperation.

Action Participants mean any researchers, engineers or scholars who actively participate in a COST Action (MC Members, Working Group members etc.) including researchers from Participating COST Countries, approved NNC institutions, approved IPC institutions as well as those approved European Commission / EU agencies, European RTD Organizations and International Organizations.

  1. The Aim of Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM)

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) are exchange visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, strengthening the existing networks and fostering collaborations between Researchers.

A STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action, while at the same time allowing applicants to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions.

  1. Who can be STSM applicant?

STSM applicants must be engaged in an official research program as a PhD Student or postdoctoral fellow, or can be employed by, or affiliated to, an Institution or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research. The institutions/organizations where the applicant realized the main research are considered as the Home institution. The Host institution is the institution/organization that will host the successful applicant.

Possible STSM scenarios are:

Home Institution Host Institution
From Participating COST Country
  • To another Participating COST Country
  • To an approved NNC institution
  • To an approved IPC institution
  • To an approved Specific organization (EC and EU Agencies, European RTD Organisations, International Organisations)
From an approved NNC institution To a Participating COST Country
From an approved European RTD Organization To a Participating COST Country
  1. Duration of the STSMs

STSM must respect the following criteria:

  1. must have a minimum duration of 5 days
  2. must have a maximum duration of 90 days
  3. must be carried out in their entirety within a single grant period and within the Action’s lifetime

To encourage the participation of Early Career Investigators (ECI) in STSM, CSO has been adopted the following specific additional provisions:

  1. The mission must have a minimum duration of 91 days
  2. The mission must have a maximum duration of 180 days
  3. STSM performed by ECI need to be carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period and always within the Action’s lifetime.
  1. Financial support

A STSM grant is a fixed contribution based on the budget requested by the applicant and the outcome of the evaluation of the STSM application determined by the Action Chair (or Vice Chair if the Action Chair is affiliated to the Grand Holder Institution ) and/or the STSM Coordinator/Committee.  STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to performing a given mission. The Grant is a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee.

The calculation of this contribution for a STSM must respect the following rules:

– up to a maximum of 2 500 EUR in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant

– up to a maximum of 160 EUR per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses

The calculation of this contribution for an ECI STSM must respect the following rules:

– up to a maximum of 3 500 EUR in total can be afforded to ECIs for missions with duration of between 91  and 180 days

– up to a maximum of 160 EUR per day can be afforded for accommodation and expenses

The Action Chair (or Vice Chair if the Action is affiliated to the Grant Holder Institution) or  the appointed STSM Coordinator/Committee can approve differentiated country rates to cover accommodation and meal expenses based on the cost of living in the host country.


  1. Application Process, Assessment and Reporting

Before the STSM

In order to receive a STSM grant, the applicant must:

  1. Obtain the written agreement of the host institution before submitting an application
  2. The application page has been integrated in e-COST allowing the future STSM applicants to create a complete e-COST profile at the same time as their STSM application. This will help the applicants to download their Grant Notification Letter as soon as the application is approved, and you to finalise and record the STSMs quickly. STSM applications can now be made by clicking on the following link or by logging in e-COST and clicking on “STSM Application” on the menu available on the left.
  3. Send the completed file as e-mail attachment to the STSM host institution and to the Chair of Action TU1301 ( and STSM Coordinator ( together with the following supporting documents:

– Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)

– Full work plan (see the instructions)

– CV

– List of publications

– Letter of support from the home institution


The STSM Committee of the TU1301 Action, comprising the STSM Coordinator, the Action Chair, the Action Vice-Chair and the leader of the beneficiary working groups will perform the scientific and budgetary assessment of the applications considering the Action TU1301 objectives and define an acceptable funding level.

Once approved from the STSM Committee, the Grand Holder will notify the applicant.


After the STSM

The grantee is required to submit a short scientific report to the host institution and the MC chair (for information) and to the STSM coordinator for approval within 30 days after the end date of the STSM containing:

  • Purpose of the STSM;
  • Description of the work carried out during the STSM;
  • Description of the main results obtained;
  • Future collaboration with the host institution (if applicable);
  • Foreseen publications/articles resulting from the STSM (if applicable);
  • Confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM;
  • Other comments (if any).

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.


*Incomplete proposals are not eligible and will not be evaluated.

  1. Instructions for full work plan:

Full work plan

This section should include:

  • Aims
  • Background
  • Summary of the work to be carried out by the applicant in the host institution
  • Foreseen results
  • Dissemination of the results


Detailed Plan of Activities

This should include diagrammatic working plan activities (Gant chart) for the full duration of the STSM.

Please note:

The maximum length of the STSM proposal (download 1 + 2) should be 3 pages (without the first title page and the second page consisting of the contents of the proposal). The font size should be 12 pt with single line spacing and the page size should be A4 with margins 25 mm (without headers and footers).

STSM Gallery