STSM Contacts

Grant Awarding Coordinator: Enrique Isla-Institut de Ciencies del Mar-Centro Superior de Investigaciones Cientì

Coordinator for STSM: Maddalena Laggini – CONISMA –

STSM Committee:

  • Andreja Ramsak – National Institute of Biology, Marine Biology Station, Slovenia;
  • Lucia Rizzo-Stazione Zoologica di Napoli, Italy;
  • Sergio Rossi-Università del Salento, Italy.

COST Action CA20102 MAF World will use the following definition for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM):

Any visit aimed to strengthen collaboration among researchers and Institutions or improve knowledge and skills of individuals. An STSM specifically contributes to the scientific objectives of COST Action CA20102 MAF World, whilst allowing participants to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments, or methods not available at their URI of affiliation, and establishing/reinforcing collaboration between researchers.

An STSM include visits from 5 to 90 calendar days. 

Up to a maximum of 2000 € in total. STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission.

For this call, the Management Committee of COST Action CA20102 has allocated a total budget of EUR 16000 for 8 STSMs. Additional funding might be considered during this Grant Period, upon MC decision. When this budget is exhausted a notice will be published in the COST Action CA20102 web page.

STSM grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security, and pension matters.

The amounts granted for each individual STSM will be determined during the evaluation process.

Grants are normally processed only after the STSM has taken place and the reporting retirements have been satisfied and approved by the Grant Awarding Coordinator or the Coordinator for the STSM.

Specific provisions have been introduced to enable researchers from ITC participating in the COST Action to request a pre-payment of 50% of their STSM Grant when they complete the first day of their STSM. In such case, the representative of the Host Institution must confirm by e-mail to the Grant Holder that the STSM applicant has officially started the mission on day 1. Only then the Grant Holder can arrange the payment of 50% of the STSM grant. The remaining 50% of the Grant is payable once the administrative requirements have been satisfied after the presentation of a short report about themission.

The criteria for the various funding purposes are presented here below. The criteria are listed in order of importance:

  1. Adequacy of the presented by the candidate proposal to MAF World objectives. For example, how will the proposed activity improve our knowledge on marine animal forests and how well it incorporates into MAF World network.
  2. Value to MAF World (e.g., interaction among countries, new knowhow inputs related to MAF world targets, interdisciplinarity, etc).
  3. How will the activity impulse the applicant’s career?
  4. Feasibility of the work plan.
  5. Access to facilities/equipment/expertise non existing in the home institution.
  6. PhD students, early career post-docs (3-year) with a primary affiliation in an institution located in an ITC are invited to apply. In the case that two or more applicants from the same ITC concur in the call, they will be ordered according to the rest of criteria, so the second position (and so on) will be hold on stand-by to give preference to geographical diversity. Proposals from candidates affiliated to Institutions not based on ITC are also welcome; however, ITC candidates have preference in the necessity of a “tie break” criterion.
  7. Gender balance and Young Career Investigator will be also important criteria for selection


To learn more about COST rules and about Short-Term Scientific Missions,  check the COST Annotated Rules. Please read them carefully for you application

PhD students, early career post-docs (3-year) with a primary affiliation in the RCI, having preference those in an institution located in an ITC.

Proposals from candidates affiliated to Institutions not based on ITC are also welcome; however, ITC candidates have preference in the necessity of a “tie break” criterion

IMPORTANT: All applicants must be part of the COST Action 20102 MAF-World

COST Action CA20102 in accordance with COST strategy supports Early Career Investigators (ECI). Therefore, the participation of ECIs in STSMs is particularly encouraged, but applications are not limited to ECIs. An applicant is considered an ECI as Young Researchers and Innovators (YRI) who is less than 40 years old.

Other researchers are also eligible to partake in STSMs, but ECIs are prioritized when applications are evaluated.

Previous successful applicants are not precluded from applying, but preference and priority will be given to applicants who have not been awarded a STSM before.

Any country with some exceptions (Russia, Irak, Iran, North Korea, etc)

The applicant is responsible for choosing and contacting the Host institution and for organizing the application process. All applicants must register for an e-COST profile and complete the online application form (left side COST Actions > Grant Applications):

  • General Information: Name, gender, country (If ITC or not), ECI (under 40 years old).
  • Workplan: should be framed and structured with a specific research question in mind and with a view to developing work that will form the basis for a possible peer review publication); objectives for visit, timeline, and core tasks to be undertaken; expected outputs and deliverables (1-2 pages).
  • CV (No more than 3 pages – including a list of selected academic publications – if applicable);ORCID is mandatory.
  • A letter of support from the 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.
  • Alignment with COST Action MAF-World Objectives (1 page).
  • Dissemination plan of your STSM (1 page).

The application process will be open from December 1st, 2023, until January 10th, 2024, 23:59:00 CET. All applications must be submitted in a single PDF.

The evaluation period will be from January 11th to January 31st, 2024.

Grantee notification: Notification to grantees through the e-COST system will be effective during the first week of February.

Remember that the elapsed time to execute the STSM will be from the 10th of February to the 30 September 2024. Beyond this period, the COST Action MAF World will not reimburse expenses.
  • Properly acknowledge COST Action 20102 – MAF-World fundingin the studies derived from the STSM funds.
  • Create and provide contents for MAF World social networks and the internet web page.
  • After the STSM, the STSM participant must submit a scientific report to the Host and to the STSM Coordinator within 30 days after the end of his/her stay.
  • The STSM must take place in a country different to the URI’s applicant.
  • The candidate should get in touch with the proposed hosting institution individually.
  • To learn more about COST rules and about Short-Term Scientific Missions please check the COST Grant Awarding user guide and the COST VademecumSection 8, Pg. 32-33.
  • Within 30 daysafter the end date of the STSM, the grantee must submit a scientific report to the Host institution. The scientific report should cover purpose of the STSM, description of work carried out during the STSM, description of the main results obtained and future collaborations (if applicable). It is obligatory to use a scientific report template which is available on the e-COST Supporting documents page
  • After the submission of the scientific report to the Host institution, the grantee must acquire an official acceptance confirmation from a researcher affiliated to the Host institution formally accepting the scientific report. The host approval of the report can be an email confirming that the STSM took place and the goals outlined in the Work plan were reached.
  • The grantee must upload both documents(scientific report and host acceptance confirmation email, both in pdf) to e-COST system, otherwise completion procedure will not be possible.
  • The submission of the supporting documents is mandatory, or the Grant is cancelled. Late submission, beyond the deadline, can also lead to the cancellation of the Grant and, in cases when a pre-payment was done, the obligatory reimbursement by the grantee of the amount received.

Although the application process is organised on a “first to come, first served basis”, all applications will be assessed by the STSM Committee once the call has been closed for applications.

The STSM committee will evaluate all STSM applications based on following criteria:

  1. the STSM proposal includes deliverables out-reach potential that go beyond CA 20102 enlisted members and activities (meaning that the proposed deliverables are strong enough and involve a dissemination plan beyond the scope of CA 20102 members and activities)
  2. the STSMs proposal includes deliverables with an added value for CA 20102
  3. the STSM proposal has a clear plan of connecting STSMs deliverables with other on-going networking tools and deliverables of the Action (e.g., meetings or written outcomes)

The STSM Committee will reject the STSM application if one or more mandatory criteria are not fulfilled.

NOTICE OF COMPLETION: The Grant Awarding Coordinator or the Coordinator for the STSM will approve the final report and send the completion notice to the Grant Holder. The Grant Holder will then execute the payment of the grant directly to the grantee.

(Please note that the COST Association can request additional information to substantiate the information contained within the documents submitted by STSM applicants).

After the STSM, all grantees are obligatory to indicate the name of this COST Action and its number in all written outcomes derived from the STSM.