COST Action CA18125
AERoGELS – Advanced Engineering and Research of (aero)Gels for Environment and Life Sciences
Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM)
Call for STSM Applications
Second Grant Period, 1 May 2020 – 31 October 2021
COST Action AERoGELS opens two cut-off dates for applications to STSM to be developed under the scope of the referred Action, in the terms described in this document.
The main procedures/regulations concerning STSM are governed by the COST Vademecum (https://www.cost.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Vademecum-V8-1-May-2020.pdf), in particular those described in Section 8. Please read this section prior to preparing your STSM application.
Scope of AERoGELS COST Action
AERoGELS COST Action intends to bring together the multidisciplinary knowledge on research and technology of aerogels at the European level, from academia, industry and regulatory experts, in order to further explore their use for environmental and life sciences applications and tackle two of the current main European challenges: circular economy and active ageing. The scope of the Action is to advance the state-of-the art on these topics by joining the efforts of the most renowned experts on cutting-edge aerogel technology, on advanced characterization of materials as well as on biomedical and environmental research. AERoGELS Action will also be a forum to fill the gaps and boost interactions in the trinomial academia-industry-society and to train European young researchers on research, innovation and entrepreneurial skills via, for instance, the STSM exchanges. Finally, these interdisciplinary collaborations are expected to yield innovative and integrated technological solutions for environment and for life sciences, which at long-term will be able to improve the welfare of European people and to move towards cleaner and smarter production in Europe.
Purpose of a STSM
STSM are exchange visits to support individual mobility, strengthen existing networks and foster collaboration between COST Action Participants. A STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action, whilst simultaneously allowing those partaking in the missions to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions.
The institution/organisation or legal entity where applicants pursue their main strand of research are considered here as Home Institutions. The Host Institution is the institution/organisation that will host the approved applicant.
The following eligibility criteria apply for the definition of the possible applicants and the host institutions.
- 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, organisation or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with research, and belongs to an AERoGELS Action Member Country, or is an approved Near Neighbour Country (NNC) Institution or an approved European RTD Organisation;
- The possible STSM Host Institution must be selected according to the scenarios summarized in the following table.
|STSM Host Institution||Applicant’s Home Institution|
|Located in a Participating COST Full Member/COST Cooperating Member||Located in another Participating COST Full Member/ COST Cooperating Member|
|Located in a Participating COST Partner Member|
|An Approved International Partner Country Institution|
|An Approved NNC Institution|
|The EU Commission or a EU Body, Office or Agency|
|An Approved European RTD Organisation|
|An Approved International Organisation|
|Located in an Approved NNC Institution||Located in a Participating COST Full Member/ COST Cooperating Member|
|Located in an Approved European RTD Organisation||Located in a Participating COST Full Member/ COST Cooperating Member|
Other important criteria for the STSM mobility are:
- The STSM need to be carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period and always within the Action’s lifetime;
- The STSM must have a minimum duration of 5 calendar days that includes travel;
- The COST Association and the Grant Holder of the Action cannot to be considered as being an STSM grantee’s employer, i.e. the STSM Grant cannot be considered as a salary;
- STSM grantees should make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security and pension matters.
Period of STSM and application deadlines
The period of STSM should be completely framed inside the Grant Period and yet reserve some margin for presenting the scientific report for approval and final payment. Therefore, the STSM should be finished the latest by 30 September 2021. The following two cut-off dates for the submission and notification of results of STSM proposals will apply:
|Cut-off moment||Applications deadline||Notification of results|
|1st||15 June 2020||30 June 2020|
|2nd||16 October 2020||2 November 2020|
|3rd||9 April 2021||26 April 2021|
The total budget for STSM in the current Grant Period is €45 000 and the number of STSM grants that will be funded is twenty-two (22). The grants will be distributed by the three cut-off dates given previously, as follows: six (6) for the first cut-off date, six (6) for the second cut-off date and eight (8) for the third date.
An STSM Grant is a fixed financial contribution which takes into consideration the budget request of the applicant and the outcome of the evaluation of the STSM application. Please note that STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission, being only a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee. Applicants are encouraged to evaluate their budget request based on a high benefit/cost ratio and justify it based on the perceived cost of living in the host country/city.
Section 8.4 of COST Vademecum defines criteria for the financial contribution for each STSM, which should not be disregarded in any circumstance:
- Up to a maximum of EUR 3 500 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant;
- Up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.
Note that specific provisions have been introduced to enable researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries (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 STSM.
The application procedure is legally bound to the Vademecum. Eligible STSM applicants must submit their STSM applications online at the following web address: https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm
Prior to this submission, it is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain a written agreement from the Host institution stating that the applicant may perform the activities detailed in the STSM work plan on the agreed dates. Moreover, STSM applicants should be also registered at the Action website: https://cost-aerogels.eu/join-us/
The following information is needed for the on-line application form: i. Action number (CA18125); ii. Title of the planned STSM; iii. Start and end dates of the STSM; iv. Applicant’s details, including academic profile and workplan; v. Applicant’s bank details; vi. Host institution details; vii. Requested budget.
A scientific committee – STSM Committee – composed by the STSM Coordinator, the Action Vice-Chair and the Work Group leaders will evaluate all the STSM proposals and define a seriation for the attribution of the grants. In case of conflict of interest, the member that is constrained in his duties should designate a substitute (the Action Chair or the respective Work Group vice-leader).
Applications assessment and communication of results
The STSM Committee will perform the scientific assessment of the applications considering the AERoGELS Action scope and objectives, as well as the potential for enhancement of the research interaction between the involved parts, measured by the impact of the exchange expected by the applicants and involved institutions. Moreover, a tentative goal of 10% of STSMs attributed to the industrial members is set, along with promoting of gender balance, enabling ECIs (researchers with PhD + up to 8 years of research experience) and PhD students, and broadening geographical inclusiveness.
The following more specific criteria will be considered for the second Grant Period. The evaluation will return a value between 0 and a maximum of 15 points. These points will be divided between the assessment of the work plan quality and STSM framework (10 points) and the applicant’s CV (5 points). The CV template that should be followed can be downloaded from the site of the Action (https://cost-aerogels.eu/).
1. STSM workplan: max. of 10 points
- 1.1 Scientific quality, alignment with Action objectives, expected impact: up to 5 points
- 1.2. ITC participant outgoing: 1 point
- 1.3. Guest is COST-participant: 1 point
- 1.4. Mission inter-Work Groups: 1 point
- 1.5. Work linked to topics of Work Group 5: 1 point
- 1.6. Academia-industry STSM: 1 point
2. Curriculum Vitæ of the applicant: max. of 5 points
- 2.1 Young researcher or industry collaborator: 2 points
- 2.2 Co-author of at least 3 JCR§-articles: 1 point
- 2.3 Co-author of at least 10 JCR§-articles: 1 point
- 2.4 No research stay abroad before: 1 point
§JCR – Journal of Citation Reports – Clarivate.
Once approved by the STSM Coordinator (or the Action Vice-Chair, in case of conflict of interest), she will inform the Grant Holder of the approved STSM, who will inform each approved applicant by sending a Grant Letter generated from e-COST. The applicant must return this letter of acceptance with his/her signature.
STSM reporting and Payment
The STSM Grantee has 30 calendar days from the end date of the mission to submit a scientific report to the STSM Coordinator along with a proof of evidence of the stay (i.e. some pictures of the trainee working at the host institution facilities). Moreover, a written confirmation by a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution regarding the successful achievement of the objectives of the STSM and approval of the scientific report is also necessary. Please note that failure to submit the scientific report, the proof of evidence of the stay and the Host Approval of the scientific report within 30 days will effectively cancel the grant.
The template of the scientific report can be downloaded at http://www.cost.eu/STSM_report_template; it includes:
- Purpose of the STSM and framing in the AERoGELS Action;
- Description of the activities carried out during the mission;
- Summary of relevant results;
- Future collaborations, including forthcoming publications resulting from the developed work and/or joint project proposals agreed during the stay.
The payment of the Grant is subject to the approval of the STSM scientific report by the STSM Committee, on behalf of the Action’s MC, and the final decision is uploaded in e-COST by the STSM Coordinator. Based on this, the Grant Holder will execute the payment of the grant directly to the grantee or the host institution as requested in the application.
|Prof. Dr. Luisa Durães – CA18125 STSM Coordinator|
Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Sciences and Technology
University of Coimbra, Portugal
|Dr. Carlos García-González – CA18125 Action Chair|
Dept. of Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain firstname.lastname@example.org