Short Term Scientific Missions

You may have heard talk of Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) and even be interested in undertaking an STSM as part of this Action. If so, or if you’d like to know more about them, then perhaps the answers to the following questions will help.

“I’ve heard that I may be able to undertake an STSM as part of this Action. What’s an STSM?”

COST officially says STSMs are: 

“exchange visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, strengthening existing networks, fostering collaboration between COST Action Participants. An STSM should specifically contribute to the scientific objectives of the COST Action, whilst at the same time 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/ organisations”

This means that they are a great opportunity for those participating in the Action to visit one another learn from one another, share knowledge, methods and techniques, consider future collaborative projects, and develop strong, lasting, relationships.

“Sounds great. Am I eligible? Can I apply?”

To be eligible, applicants must be must be engaged as a PhD student or postdoctoral fellow or be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution or legal entity which has a clear association with performing research. Ordinarily, both the Home and Host institution should be located within a COST member state that is participating in the Action.

We hope to offer a substantial portion (75%) of the (at least) 20 STSMs (approximately 6 per year of the Action) that are available in connection with this Action to those based in Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs) or who are Early Career Investigators (ECIs – those that are in training undertaking a PhD, or who have completed one within 8 years). Anyone can apply, however, so please do not think you cannot apply just because you are not an ECI and are not based in an ITC.

This also means that your trainees, students, colleagues may benefit from an STSM – they do not have to be members of the Action Management Committee so please also think of others when considering the possibilities for STSMs. Thank you!

“How long can an STSM last, what support is available, and how do I receive reimbursement?”  

STSMs can last for between 5 and 90 days (but must not overlap two Action grant periods – so cannot include a week that includes the last day of April and the first day of May). 

The budget allocation for this Action has assumed STSMs will last 5 days and so a maximum total of EUR 1,320 is available to the Applicant to support each STSM. This includes a combination of travel costs and up to EUR 160 per day for accommodation and sustenance. It is therefore suggested that STSMs undertaken as part of this Action are for a duration of 5 working days. There is no financial support available to the Host Institution.

All payments are made via the COST system after the STSM has been completed and so the Applicant will need to make the necessary arrangements and incur expenditure prior to being reimbursed. In order for payment to be approved the Applicant must submit (via the COST system) a scientific report within 30 days of the end of the STSM. This must be approved by a senior researcher (or clinician) affiliated to the Host institution and by the STSM Coordinator, the Action Chair or the Vice-Chair. 

 “Fantastic. How do I apply?”

Applying can be relatively simple and involves the following action:

The Applicant: complete the application online: here (applicants without a COST account/profile will need to create one). This requires you to include:

1. various details relating to yourself, the host, the proposed dates, the sum applied for; 

2. the agreed Workplan (including aims and motivation / proposed contribution to the scientific objectives of the action (see the MOU here));

3. a letter of support from the Applicant’s Home institution;

4. the Host Institution’s written agreement to the Workplan and dates;

5. the Applicant’s CV (including a list of publications).


The Host: the applicant will need the Host letter of support and agreement to the Workplan and proposed dates. Send/scan this to the Applicant:

1. printed on the Host institution’s letterhead paper;

2. signed on behalf of the Host;

3. saying that the Host supports the Applicant’s application to apply for the STSM with/at the Host and that the Host agrees to the Workplan and the dates that the Applicant has proposed

Please ensure you identify this Action (COST Action CA16234 European Cleft and Craniofacial Initiative for Equality in Care) in all approval letters etc.

“Who will consider my application?”

The Action’s CORE group will consider each application on its own merits, as they are received, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. The CORE group will consider:

  1. the extent to which the STSM will further, contribute to, or is consistent with the objectives of the Action (specified in the MOU Again, see that here);
  2. whether the STSM can be approved without reducing the portion of approved applicants (over the life of the Action to that date) that are ECIs or based in ITCs to <75%;
  3. the gender balance (over the life of the Action to that date) of approved applicants;
  4. obtaining, if possible, a balance of Applicants from participating members.

Assuming that the STSM will further, contribute to, or is consistent with the objectives of the Action the members of the CORE group may give less regard to points 2. - 4., above if in their opinion and considering the number of applications received to date within the relevant Action grant period, remaining time within that grant period, and the anticipated/indicated number of further Applications, those criteria would result in fewer than 6 STSMs being undertaken during the relevant Action grant period. 

“I would like to apply or to host and STSM but I don’t know anyone who may be interested”

Please send brief details of your proposed STSM and what you would require from the partner (the applicant or host) to the STSM coordinator and we will circulate these to the Management Committee and/or place these on this page.

Currently, we have the following applicants/hosts looking for partners: 

Applicants looking for hosts:

Hosts looking for applicants:


“I think I can help with one of these” “I require further information” “Something isn’t clear to me”

Thank you / of course/ I’m sorry about that! 

Please contact Martin Persson: