Short term scientific missions

Short term scientific missions
Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits in a Host Institution located in a different country than the country of affiliation of a Researcher or Innovator.

What is an STSM?

Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits in a Host Institution located in a different country than the country of affiliation of a Researcher or Innovator. STSMs aim to strengthen collaboration among researchers and Institutions or improve knowledge and skills of individuals. It specifically contributes to the scientific objectives of the OFF-SOURCE (Offshore freshened groundwater: An unconventional water resource in coastal regions?) CA21112 COST Action, whilst at the same time allows the Grantees to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions/organisations. At the same time, the Host will expand its international contacts and develop long lasting collaboration.

The STSM must have a minimum duration of 5 calendar days that includes travel. The STSM needs to be carried out in its entirety within a single Grant Period and always within the Action’s lifetime.

A STSM Grant is a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation, and meal expenses of the Grantee. STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission. During Grant Agreement Period 1, the Management Committee of COST Action CA21112 has allocated up to a maximum of €2500 for each individual STSM (7-10 in total). STSM Grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security, and pension matters. The amount 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 requirements have been satisfied and approved by the Grant Awarding Coordinator or the Coordinator for the STSM. However, STSMs Grantees may request up to 50% prepayment of the approved grant. This amount is subject to availability of funds and approval by the Grant Holder Institution. The request of prepayment shall be submitted to the Grant Holder Manager. In such cases, 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 the scientific report.

Proper acknowledgement of COST Action 21112 OFF-SOURCE must be done for all work and publications that benefited from the action.

Creation and provision of contents for OFF-SOURCE social networks and official web page.

The STSM must take place in a different country from the applicant’s Host Institution country.

The candidate needs to get in touch with the proposed Host Institution.

Within 30 days from the end date of the STSM, the Grantee must submit a scientific report to the Host Institution and to the Action MC. The scientific report should cover the purpose of the STSM, the work developed, the main achievements of the STSM and the planned future follow up activities. It is obligatory to use a scientific report template that is available within the Grant Awarding user guide and on the e-COST Supporting documents page.

After the submission of the scientific report to the Host Institution, the Grantee must obtain 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 the e-COST system, otherwise the completion procedure will not be possible.

The submission of the supporting documents is mandatory or the Grant is cancelled. Late submission can also lead to the cancellation of the Grant and the obligatory reimbursement by the Grantee of the amount received in cases of a pre-payment.

To learn more about COST rules and about Short-Term Scientific Missions please refer to the COST Grant Awarding user guide and the COST Annotated Rules.

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 at, fill in their profile (including bank details and CV), and then complete the online application form (as described in the Grant Awarding user guide).

The following supporting documentation will also have to be uploaded:

  • Confirmation of the agreement from the Host Institution in receiving the applicant
  • Work plan: it should include the objectives of the visit (and their alignment with the tasks assigned), the timeline, the core tasks to be undertaken, the expected outputs and deliverables, and a dissemination plan.
  • Written agreement from the Host Institution that the STSM applicant can perform the activities detailed in the STSM work plan on the agreed dates.

The proposals will be considered eligible, evaluated, and approved based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the scientific proposal of the applicant (up to 17 points):
    • How will the proposal respond to the scientific scope of the action? (up to 5 points)
    • Innovative aspects of the proposal in respect to the action scope (e.g., interaction among countries, new knowhow inputs related to OFF-SOURCE targets, interdisciplinarity)? (up to 5 points)
    • Feasibility to meet the proposed objectives within the STSM time frame. (up to 5 points)
    • How will the activity have a positive impact on the applicant’s career? (up to 1 point)
    • Access to facilities/equipment/expertise not existing in the home institution. (up to 1 point)
  • Qualification of the applicant (up to 15 points):
    • CV of the applicant (up to 5 points)
    • Publication list, with preference for themes within the action scope. (up to 5 points)
    • Priority will be given to Young Researcher and Innovator (YRI) (under the age of 40) and PhD students, with a preference for applicants with a primary affiliation in an institution located in an ITC. Proposals from candidates affiliated to Institutions not based on ITCs are also welcome. (up to 5 points)

OFF-SOURCE is fully committed to promote gender equality.


This call is open from 20 November 2022 until 8 January 2023. The deadline for applications to be submitted is 8 January 2023. The evaluation period will be 9-20 January 2023. The STMSs should be carried out until September 2023, at the latest. Beyond this period, the COST Action OFF-SOURCE will not reimburse any expenses. Notification to Grantees through the e-COST system will be effective before 25 January 2023.

What will be the tasks to carry on?

The applicant will focus on one or more of the following action tasks:

1.1. Compile a database of known OFG bodies and their characteristics in waters of COST Member Countries from published literature and data sets (e.g., borehole logs, geophysical data) – 1 STSM.

1.2. Compile a database of available geological and geophysical data from margins of COST Member Countries from published literature and data sets (e.g., EMODnet, SeaDataNet) – 1 STSM.

1.3. Generate 3D geological models of selected margins (based on good data coverage) by integrating data from 1.2 with available onshore geological and hydrogeological data (e.g., Gleeson et al., 2014; Hartmann and Moosdorf, 2012; Huscroft et al., 2018; Zamrsky et al., 2018) – 2-3 STMS.

1.4. Run transient hydrogeological simulations over at least two glacial cycles, calibrated with data from 1.1, to predict the occurrence, salinity, and volume of OFG at the selected margins – 3-5 STSMs

What set of skills is required?

The applicant should have the following skills:

  • GIS and database organisation (Tasks 1.1, 1.2)
  • Geological, hydrogeological, geophysical and borehole data interpretation (Tasks 1.1, 1.2, 1.3)
  • Geological modelling (including geostatistics) (Task 1.3)
  • Groundwater modelling (Task 1.4)