CA19141 – Integrating Neandertal Legacy: From Past to Present Call for Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM) Applications

stsm calls

General information

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) are institutional visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, fostering collaboration between individuals.

Application deadline: May 7th 2021Deadline extended to 21/05/2021.

All STSM activities must occur in their entirety until the October 31st 2021

Eligibility criteria

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 performing research. The institutions / organisation or legal entity where applicants pursue their main strand of research are considered as Home Institutions. The Host Institution is the institution / organisation that will host the successful applicant.

Participation of “Early Career Investigators” (ECI) in STSM is particularly encouraged (ECI is an individual who is within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate (full-time equivalent)).

The following table shows the scenarios available to eligible STSM applicants: (see notes below for the explanation of the terms)

Applicant’s Home InstitutionSTSM Host Institution
        Located in a Participating COST Full Member  / COST Cooperating MemberLocated in another Participating COST Full Member / COST Cooperating Member   The EU Commission or an EU Body, Office or Agency   An Approved European RTD Organisation   An Approved International Organisation  
Located in an Approved European RTD OrganisationLocated in a Participating COST Full Member / COST Cooperating Member


Participating COST Full members: Albania, Austria, Belgium (not yet confirmed), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Participating COST Cooperating Member: Israel (not yet confirmed)

The EU Commission or an EU Body, Office or Agency: Anybody defined in accordance with the Treaties on the European Union and on the Functioning of the European Union established 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. A list of the EU Bodies, Offices and Agencies may be found at

European RTD Organisation: The intergovernmental scientific research organisations whose members are States, the majority of which are COST members.

International Organisation: Any Intergovernmental Organisation governed by international law. Organisations qualifying under the present Decision as European RTD organisations or EU bodies, officer, or agencies shall not be considered International Organisation in the COST framework.

Duration and financial support

STSMs can have a minimum duration of 5 calendar days that includes travel. STSM need to be carried out in their entirety until October 31st 2021.

The COST Association and the Grant Holder of the Action cannot be considered as being an STSM grantee’s employer. STSM grantees shall make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security and pension matters.

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. STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission. A STSM Grant is a contribution to the overall travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee.

The following funding conditions apply and must be respected:

  1. up to a maximum of EUR 1 350 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;*
  2. up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses;

*Please note that in compliance with the COST Vademecum, the maximum amount which can be reimbursed is up to EUR 3 500, however, within this Call, the applicant´s total costs can be reimbursed up to EUR 1 350.

The appointed STSM Coordinator and STSM Committee should consider and can approve differentiated country rates to cover accommodation and meal expenses based on the perceived cost of living in the host country (see recommendation on daily allowances based on country

Specific provisions have been introduced to enable researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) participating in the COST Action (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, North Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey) 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 shall 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.


  1. All applicants must carefully read the funding rules detailed in Section 8 of the COST Vademecum. This document is available here:
  2. All applicants must register for an e-COST profile at and add their bank account details to their profile.
  3. The applicant must obtain letters of support from the Host institution and Home institution confirming that he/she can undertake the STSM on the given dates prior to submitting an application.
  4. The applicant must complete and submit his/her STSM application online at:
  5. The applicant must send their STSM application form submitted to e-COST (pdf) and the relevant supporting documents to dr. Florent Rivals, STSM Coordinator at: AND in copy to the Chair of the Action dr. Ivor Janković at:, and in copy to the Vice-Chair of the Action dr. Stefano Benazzi at:;  for evaluation before the application submission deadline expires.


Instructions for writing the Motivation Statement and Work Plan

The maximum length of the STSM motivation and work plan summary is 2000 words. It is part of the online application form. A complete proposal should include the following sections:

  1. Aim and motivation: Explain the purpose of the STSM and what scientific and/or other outcomes you aim to accomplish with the STSM. Explain how the STSM aims and outcomes relate to the specific scientific objectives of iNEAL and specific WGs objectives/tasks (these are detailed in Memorandum of understanding (MoU).Explain your choice for the Host institution (including a description of the Host Laboratory’s expertise and link to their website, max 200 words).

2. Methods: Detail what methods/techniques you may learn to use, if applicable.

3. Work plan: Detail the steps you will take to achieve your proposed aims.

4. Expected output of the STSM: foreseen publications, future collaboration, etc.

Evaluation and selection

The applications will be administered and assessed by the STSM Coordinator and STSM Committee, which will perform the scientific and budgetary assessment of the applications against the perceived contribution that the proposed visit will make against the scientific objectives outlined in the Action’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The selection of applicants is based on the scientific scope of the STSM application which must clearly compliment the overall objectives of the Action and be related to a specific Working Group.

Evaluation criteria:

  1. The relevance and application of the research to the field of the Action – a detailed work plan will help determine if the scientific aims of the work will be relevant and applicable to the Action’s aims.
  2. The quality and clarity of the proposed research – the STSM application should be of high quality, arguing clearly and cogently the importance and timeliness of the study.
  3. The choice of Host institution – the applicant must give specific scientific reasons for visiting their chosen Host institution.
  4. The Home institution of the researcher. We will take into account the number of applications from each institution to ensure a fair spread of researches across the network. Involvement of ITC countries will be a plus.
  5. The profile of the researcher – We will take into account the researcher’s potential of successfully completing the STSM based on their previous work and achievements commensurate to their career  stage. In line with COST policy, we will preferentially award STSMs to early-career investigators (Ph.D. + <8 years), supporting gender balance and geographical inclusiveness.
  6. The publication/output potential of the research carried out, based on the STSM work plan and detailed publication/output plan.

After completion of the STSM:

Within 30 days from the end date of the STSM, the grantee must submit a scientific report to

  1. STSM Coordinator (;
  2. Action Chair (;
  3. Action Vice-Chair (;
  4. the senior researcher at the Host institution;
  5. e-COST system.

Payment of the Grant is subject to a STSM scientific report being approved on behalf of the Action’s MC by the delegated person(s) responsible and by a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution. Written approval of the STSM scientific report by the aforementioned persons shall be uploaded in eCOST for archiving purposes.