Short Term Scientific Missions

Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM)

The COST Action iCOn-MICs ‘Investigation on comics and graphic novels in the Iberian cultural area’ (CA19119) offers financial support to eligible applicants to carry out a Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM) that contributes to the scientific objectives of the Action. 

STSM grants are a fixed contribution based on the applicant’s budget and their application’s evaluation. Please note that this grant does not necessarily cover all expenses, as it is intended only to contribute to travel and subsistence costs. 

STSM grants are open to all researchers in institutions and countries taking part in the COST Action iCOn-MICs or approved institutions. STSMs must be conducted between COST countries—applicants cannot apply for an STSM in their own countries. Please note that IPCs (International Partner Countries, e.g., Latin American countries) are not eligible for STSMs. 

The STSM applications for the Action are evaluated bimonthly by the STSM Committee. 


General rules

Applicants must carefully read the funding rules detailed in Section 8 of the COST 
Vademecum, including Eligibility Rules, Evaluation and Selection of Applicants, Criteria for STSM and Financial Support. We also encourage applicants to read the following relevant documents: the STSM User Guide, the document about Handling Travel Requests, and the Rule of Travel Reimbursement. 

Applicants must apply using the e-COST platform by completing, submitting, and
downloading their STSM application online at https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm. If you do not already have an e-COST account, you first need to “create an account,” which includes providing the details for the bank account where the grant will be lodged if your STSM application is approved and the STSM completed.

Applications and all documents related to applications must be in English.

Applicants must get a letter of invitation from the Host Institution, confirming that they can undertake the STSM on the dates requested should their application be approved. 

The minimum period of an STSM is five days and no longer than one month. An STSM also needs to be carried out in its entirety within one grant period.

The earliest starting date is two months from applying, although it may be possible to start earlier under exceptional circumstances if approved by the STSM coordinator.

The STSM topic is up to the candidate to choose but should ideally relate to one of the iCOn-MICS working groups’ activities.

The grant will be reimbursed AFTER the grantee has completed their visit and submitted a report (a written report on the activities carried out during the STSM within 30 calendar days of the end of the research visit). Applicants must keep within the deadlines, or they will not be reimbursed.

Researchers from Inclusiveness Target Country (ITCs) can receive 50% of the grant upon completing the first day of the STSM. The remaining 50% will be paid after the grantee has completed their visit and submitted a report.


STSM grantees must make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, social security, and pension matters.

Assessment criteria

The STSM grants are awarded according to the COST key principles of excellence, inclusivity, and balance:

  • The quality of the applicant is based on the written application.
  • Gender, institutional, and geographical balance will be taken into consideration.
  • Applicants coming from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs) also have priority. These are Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Serbia, and Turkey.

The STSM Committee scores applicants A (90% or more), B (89-80%), C (70-79%), D
(65–69%), or E (65% or less) by summing up the scores of the whole research proposal and its parts. The criteria for evaluation are the following:

  • The relevance and application of the research to the scientific aims and scope of the Action. A detailed work plan with timelines helps determine if the application is compliant with the Action’s overall goals. (1-5 points).
  • The quality and clarity of the proposed research. The application should argue the importance and timeliness of the research (1-5 points).
  • The choice of the host institution. The applicant must give specific scientific reasons for visiting their chosen host institution. The involvement of ITC countries is a plus (1-5 points).
  • The home institution of the researcher. We consider the number of applications from each institution to ensure a fair spread of research across the network. Involvement of ITC countries is a plus (1-5 points).
  • The profile of the researcher. We consider the researcher’s potential of completing the STSM based on their previous work and achievements commensurate to their career stage (1-5 points).
  • The publication/output potential of the research carried out. Based on the STSM work plan and detailed publication/output plan (1-5 points).

Please contact STSM coordinator Ana Matilde Sousa (asousa@campus.ul.pt) if you have any queries.

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