2nd Grant Period – 1st Cal | Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

2nd Grant Period – 1st Cal | Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs)

Short – Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) aim at supporting mobility and collaboration among researchers participating in the CLEANFOREST Action. An STSM consists of a visit to a host institution located in a different country that the country of affiliation and should contribute to the objectives of the Action.

STSM travel grants are available for researchers actively participating in CLEANFOREST WG activities. We particularly encourage participation from young researchers. According to the COST Action, a young researcher is a researcher or innovator under the age of 40. PhD Students or postdoctoral fellows, but not MSc students, are also eligible applicants for the STSM grants.

STSMs shall only be used to support networking activities and other expenses specifically supporting the Action and dedicated to achieving the Action’s aims and objectives. STSM Grants may not be used for neither drafting, writing nor submitting proposals for the purpose of acquiring funding for national, European or internationally sourced research grants.

Period of STSM travel grants and application deadline

We do not provide a deadline for the completion of the STSMs, but the STSM report must be submitted by April 30, 2024.

STSM topics

A. Specific topic STSMs

Two (2) of the STSM Grants are specifically targeted to cover the following topics:

  1. Reviewing the recent progress on the effects of climate extremes and nitrogen deposition on trees, soil, and forest ecosystems

    The STSM will be in the context of Action’s Working Group 3 (WG3), which is focused on the understanding of the interactions between global change drivers, tree and soil biogeochemical processes. During the STSM, the candidate will support the WG3 participants in the writing of two literature reviews focused on the effect of 1) climate extremes and 2) nitrogen deposition on European forests, by searching the literature and providing a synthesis. The candidate will have the opportunity to become embedded in these two literature reviews’ research and writing process, with the support of an international team of researchers. The STSM will last up to 6 weeks and the location of the Mission will depend on the candidate’s interest, mobility, and writing focus:

    The candidate interested in climate extremes and forest ecosystems will be invited to visit the Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Münster in Germany, under the primary supervision of Mana Gharun. During their visit, the candidate will become familiar with the research facilities of the Institute of Landscape Ecology, have the opportunity to visit two eddy covariance measurements stations measuring greenhouse gas fluxes from two degraded peatlands in the area of north-west Germany (including one ICOS candidate station).

    In case the candidate is interested in nitrogen deposition and forest soils, she/he will be invited to collaborate also with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST.lu), under the primary co-supervision of Kate Buckeridge. As the two teams are working closely together, there is the possibility to work to support both topics via regular meetings with the two research groups.
  2. Reviewing the recent progress on the effects of climate extremes in nitrogen addition experiments

    The STSM will be in the context of the Action’s Working Group 4 (WG4), which is focused on next generation manipulation experiments and monitoring networks. During the STSM, the candidate will support the WG4 participants in the writing of a literature review focused on the effects of climate extremes on nitrogen manipulation experiments. The candidate will have the opportunity to become embedded in the literature review research and writing process, with the support of an international team of researchers. We are looking for a candidate who can ideally play a significant role in: 1) reviewing literature and existing global databases for long-term nitrogen fertilization studies in forest ecosystems, either independently or by coordinating collaborative efforts through the COST action and 2) defining and identifying local and/or global extreme climatic events from the past that align with the available datasets; This includes aspects such as forest productivity, forest health, tree vitality and matter cycling.

    We seek a scientifically creative individual who can work independently. The STSM will extend up to 6 weeks. Possible hosts include Dr. Richard Nair from the Department of Botany at Trinity College Dublin and/or Dr. Robert Weigel from the Ecological-Botanical Garden at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

B. Free topic STSMs

In addition, two to three STSMs Grants will be offered for open topics, which still need to be relevant to the CLEANFOREST Cost Action priorities and contribute to the Action’s objectives.

Funding
  • Financial support for STSM is a travel grant awarded to individuals and it is not an employment.
  • The minimum duration of each STSM is 5 calendar days including traveling. There is no maximum duration limit, but applicants should consider that:
    • for the STSMs with specific topics related to WG3 and WG4 of the CLEANFOREST Cost Action the maximum amount to be awarded is 3,000 € per grant, based on justification of expenses.
    • for the non-specific STSMs, which still need to be relevant to the Action’s objectives, the maximum amount to be awarded is between 2,000 to 3,000 € per grant, based on justification of expenses.

      Taking into account the number of approved applications and the total STSM budget for this grant period of the Action, applicants may be asked to limit their costs.
  • STSM grantees must make their own arrangements related to personal, health, taxation and social security.
  • Grants are paid after the completion of each STSM and the approval of all required documentation.
Application

Applicants need to have an e-COST profile at https://e-services.cost.eu/.

  • The applications must be submitted online here by selecting “Apply for Grant” and then “Short-Term Scientific Mission grant”.
  • In addition to the information requested by the online platform, the applicants should upload the following documents in a single PDF file:
    • The STSM grant Application, based on the e-COST template (https://www.cost.eu/STSM_GrantApplication)
    • An invitation and confirmation letter on the agreement from the host institution in receiving the applicant and on the responsible host affiliated researcher.
    • A cover letter clearly stating the relevance of the proposed activities in relation to the CLEANFOREST COST Action and the benefit for the applicant.
    • A short CV (maximum 2 pages) including recent publications, if applicable.
    • The budget requested (in €) including the list of estimated costs and justification.

Additional information on the submission via the e-COST system can be found here.

Evaluation

The applications will be evaluated by the Grant Awarding Committee within two weeks after the submission deadline and the results will be communicated to the applicants.

The evaluation criteria will be: (a) the CV of the applicant, (b) the contribution of the application’s goals and expected outcomes in relation to the objectives of CLEANFOREST, (c) the feasibility of the application’s workplan, (d) the Action’s budget limitations. Attention will be given to promoting gender balance, young researchers and geographical inclusiveness.

Funded applications and reimbursement

The template for the final report can be found at here. The STSM reports must be submitted by April 30, 2024.

Written approval of the STSM scientific report will be uploaded on e-COST for archiving purposes. Failure to submit the required report on time will effectively cancel the grant. The grant payment will be executed within 30 days after the approval of the report by the Grant Awarding and STSM Coordinators as well as the Host.

In terms of outcomes’ dissemination, the grantees are expected to deliver the following after their missions are completed:

  • A short talk or webinar.
  • A photograph and a short description of the activities carried out during the STSM, to be shared at the section Grants of the COST Action’s website.

Any publication resulted by the STSMs should acknowledge the CLEANFOREST Action.

Questions / Inquiries

For general STSM inquiries, please contact:

For inquiries related to the alignment of the two specifically targeted STSMs to WG3 and WG4 goals, please contact:

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