Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) grants

Third call for STSM grants

Deadline: 31st March 2022

Grant Period: This Call covers the grant period April 30th, 2022 –October 31st, 2022

Funding: Up to a maximum grant of EUR 2,500.

STSM duration: No minimum number of days required, but suggested at least two weeks  

We are looking for applicants to eight STSM grants, for working with the following host institutions:

  1. Ethnographic Museum of Muggio Valley, Cabbio, CH
  2. University of Liège, Liège, BE
  3. University of Tirana, Tirana, AL
  4. University of Malta, Msida, MT

The case study areas which have already chosen to conduct research on are:

  1. Nevère: snow cellars in Muggio valley, CH
  2. Three Countries Park (3LP), an interregional cooperation platform which includes the cities and the districts of Aachen, Maastricht, Hasselt, Genk, Eupen, Verviers and Liège in a partnership moving from landscape principles – BE-DE-NL Euregio Meuse-Rhine (EMR)
  3. Atomic Bunkers in Tirana, Tirana, AL
  4. Underground Flour Mills, different sites in Malta, MT

More information about #COSTCA18110:

What Are STSMs?

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits, which aim to support researchers’ individual mobility, strengthening existing networks and fostering collaboration. STSMs are intended especially, but not solely, for young researchers. In the case of COST CA18110 ‘Underground Built Heritage as catalyser for Community Valorisation’, the STSMs specifically contribute to the following objectives, as defined in the MoU:

  • Mapping different UBH re-use and broader heritage-led regeneration case studies in different countries, and improving the overall comprehension of success factors in terms of business and management, financing mechanisms, stakeholders’ involvement, governance mechanisms, procurement, technical needs, and environmental, social, and economic impacts
  • Opening the network to partnerships with local management frameworks for each UBH case, as well as interacting with different local stakeholders, both public and private, to reach consensus on which values should be protected and carried on to future generations and determine the attributes that carry these values
  • Pioneering socially and environmentally innovative solutions, by stimulating, developing, and supporting processes of local community co-evolution and co-creation, which allows communities to explore alternative social trajectories in an adaptive, forward-looking manner, such as the Strategic Transition Practice (STP).

Through this call, we expect to grant eight STSMs in four different pre-selected localities and host institutions, enabling those partaking in the missions to gain access to specific data, instruments, and methods not available in their own institutions, learn about UBH success factors of specific cultural contexts, practice community empowerment tools, and establish new partnerships.

Who can apply?

Based on the new COST rules, STSMs are open to individuals affiliated to a legal entity in:

  • A COST Full/Cooperating Member
  • A European RTD
  • A NNC (Near Neighbour Country)

STSMs must be performed between countries, therefore individuals cannot apply for an STSM within their own country.

Priority will be given to Early Career Investigators (ECI) (Young Researchers and Innovators (YRI) < 40 years old) working on socio-technical aspects of the conservation and valorisation of the Underground Built Heritage, sustainability transition, and community participation tools.

Additional priority points will be assigned to the ones with an attendance certificate to an U4V Training School.

Consideration will also be given to candidates coming from COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs), which include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, North Macedonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey.

STSM throughout the annual grant period (for the third year: 1st April 2022 – 31st October 2022) will be made available to support scientific excellence, and to support a variety of researchers in terms of gender, career stage, affiliation, and nationality.

What can you apply for?

You can apply for a STMS without a minimum number of days requirement, but we suggest a minimum period of about 14 days. The STSM will be a fixed grant to cover part of the travel expenses and living allowance. The cost of research materials is not eligible for consideration as part of the grant. The four hosting Institutions for the third year are as follow:

  1. Ethnographic Museum of Muggio Valley, Cabbio, Switzerland (contact person: Dr. Mark Bertogliati
  2. University of Liège, Liège, BE (contact person: Prof. Rita Occhiuto
  3. University of Tirana, Tirana, AL (contact person: Prof. Klodiana Gorica )
  4. University of Malta, Msida, MT (contact person: Prof Shirley Cefai )

Please note that the awarded grant will be paid only after the STSM has been completed – therefore the applicant must have approval and prior financial support e.g., from their own institution.

The following funding conditions apply and must be respected:

  • Up to a maximum grant of EUR 2500 can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant – The amount is decided by the Action MC on proposal of the STSM coordinator, based on the request of the applicant and should reflect the duration and location of the STSM.
  • STSM activities must occur in their entirety within the dates specified in this call.

STSM awards may be combined with other funding sources, but these must be acknowledged in the application.

In your application, you will have to describe:

  • the goal of the proposed STSM (with reference to the specific case-study chosen and the main topics to cover),
  • how your activity will contribute to the scientific advancement of the COST Action ‘Underground Built Heritage as catalyser for Community Valorisation’,
  • The outputs you plan (a report, a video, an article…) as result of the STSM.

For detailed rules regarding eligibility and financial support, please see the relevant sections of the ANNOTATED RULES FOR COST ACTIONS:

When can you apply?

Calls for STSM applications will be issued one time during each grant year. Please subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on our social media channels to be kept up to date.

How can you apply?

This is a step-by-step guide to applying for an STSM and the way the applications will be assessed. More in-depth information can be found on the ANNOTATED RULES FOR COST ACTIONS and Grant Awarding User guide. Please contact Dr. Müge Akkar Ercan (STSM coordinator) if you have any queries.

The application process is as follows:

  1. Applicants must carefully read the rules detailed in Section 4 and Annex 2 of ANNOTATED RULES FOR COST ACTIONS .
  2. Applicants must apply through e-COST using the dedicated form available on:

In this regard, applicants are informed that their application can be accessed by the holders of leadership positions and any evaluation committees in the Action for evaluation purposes.

If you do not already have an e-COST account, you will first need to ‘create an account’ – which will include providing the details of the bank account where the grant will be lodged if your STSM application is approved and the STSM successfully completed.

  1. Applicants must obtain a written agreement from the Host Institution confirming that they can undertake the STSM on the given dates should their application be approved (if the case, consider restrictions post covid-19).
  2. Applicants must complete, submit, and download their STSM application online at:
  3. Applicants must send their application form and the relevant supporting documents for evaluation, to Dr. Müge Akkar Ercan (
  4. Deadline for the third-year period call application: 31st March

The list of supporting documents to be submitted for the evaluation are as follows:

  • The submitted STSM application form (downloadable when the online application is submitted – see 4 above).
  • A letter including an overview of the proposed activities that will be performed, a workplan for the visit, a description of the proposed contributions to the scientific objectives of the ‘Underground Built Heritage as catalyser for Community Valorisation’ Action, an outline of the host’s scientific expertise/resources in support of the STSM. The letter should be maximum 8 pages, the font should correspond to Times New Roman size 11 pt with single line spacing and standard margins of 2 cm (please discuss about the mission contents with the Host institution)
  • A letter of support from the Applicant’s Home Institution.
  • A written agreement to support applicant’s visit from a senior researcher or officer of the Host Institution.
  • A Full CV (including a list of academic publications).
  1. A pre-assessment of related STSM proposals is performed by each local institution. The STSM coordinator can approve the selection or to ask for impartial advice to a WGs’ member.
  2. If the proposal is approved, the STSM coordinator sends application and approval to Grant Holder & Action Chair for final check.
  1. The Grant Holder sends the applicant a grant letter to sign and return. The STSM should not be started until this letter has been signed and returned.
  2. After the STSM, the investigator submits a scientific report to the STSM Host and STSM coordinator within 30 days of completing the STSM. This must include: the purpose of the mission; description of work carried out; description of main results/outputs; plan of future collaborations with Host (if applicable); planned publications resulting from STSM (if applicable); confirmation of successful STSM by Host. The Report Template is downloadable at:
  3. STSM Coordinator and Action Chair approve the final report. The Grant Holder executes payment to STSM Applicant.

All information can be found on the website of ‘Underground Built Heritage as catalyser for Community Valorisation’:

The STSM coordinator

Dr. Müge Akkar Ercan

STSM CoC 2022_final