STSM Application Criteria

COST Action Alien CSI promotes Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) to facilitate knowledge exchange and acquisition, and to implement action objectives, by fostering collaboration, technology transfer and by tackling various research needs.

Researchers interested in applying for an STSM can read the information below to establish whether they are eligible to apply for an STSM and how to calculate the requested grant.

The application procedure is explained on the Instructions page.

The selection of applicants is based on the scientific scope of the STSM application which must clearly compliment the overall objectives of Alien CSI. More information regarding the selection procedure can be found on the Criteria page.

Successful applicants will need to submit a scientific report to the Host Institution and to the STSM Co-ordinators within 30 days from the end date of the STSM, and they will be responsible for acquiring from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution confirmation of formal acceptance of the scientific report. Successful applicants will also be asked to submit a poster about their STSM and a summary profile piece for the Action’s website.

Who is eligible to take part in an STSM?

STSM applicants must be engaged in an official research programme as a PhD Student or postdoctoral fellow or can be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution, organisaiton or legal entity which has within its a remit a clear association with performing research.

Participation of ‘Early Career Investigators' (ECI) in STSM is particularly encouraged. The COST Association considers ECI as individuals who are within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate (full-time equivalent). 

STSM are not available to BSc/MSc students if they have no additional affiliation to an institution/organisation peforming research.

Eligible ‘Home’ and ‘Host’ combinations can be found on the page Eligible 'Home - Host' combinations

The STSM Grant

In general, STSM must have a duration of between 5 and 90 days.

However, in order to encourage participation of ECI (see definition above), specific additional grant provisions have been made possible. To qualify for these, the mission must be between 91 and 180 days.

It should be remembered that an STSM Grant is a contribution to the overall expenses incurred during the STSM and may not necessarily cover all of the associated outgoings. Financial support is limited to consider travel, accommodation and meal expenses and is paid in the form of a Grant. The cost of research materials is not eligible for consideration as part of the grant.

The following funding conditions apply and must be respected:

For STSM with a duration of between 5 and 90 days

  •  up to a maximum of EUR2500 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;

  • up to a maximum of EUR160 per day can be afforded for accommodation & meal expenses;


 For ECI STSM with a duration of between 91 & 180 days:

  • up to a maximum of EUR3500 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;

  • up to a maximum of EUR160 per day can be afforded for accommodation & meal expenses;

Usually a Grant will be paid only after the STSM has been completed and the scientific report has been approved by both the Host Institution and the STSM Co-ordinators. The applicant must therefore have approval and prior financial support e.g., from their own institution.

If a researcher is from an Inclusiveness Targe Country (ITC)* participating in the Action, they can request 50% of their STSM Grant when they have completed their first day of their STSM (although the payment cannot be paid immediately into the researchers account due to the time required to process the payment). This must be evidenced with an email from a representative from the Host Insitution to the Grant Holder, confirming that the STSM researcher has officially started the mission on day 1. The remaining 50%  of the Grant is payable once the usual administrative requirements have been satisfied after the completion of the STSM.

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

STSM awards may be combined with other funding sources, but these must be acknowledged in the application.

STSM need to be carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period of the Action. Calls for STSM applications will include details about the time period in which the STSMs can take place.

Please note that failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days from the end date of the STSM will effectively cancel the Grant.

COST can request additional information to substantiate the information contained within the documents submitted by STSM applicants.

Neither the COST Association nor the Grant Holder of the Action can be considered as being an STSM grantee's employer and STSM grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security and pension matters.


*Inclusiveness Target Countries are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey. Please check the Action's page on the COST website to see which of these countries is participating in this Action.

Whilst much of the information on this page has been directly referenced from the COST Vademecum. A copy of the Vademecum can be found via this webpage.