PlantEd – COST Action CA18111 – Genome editing in plants

4th call for Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM)

PlantEd 2nd Grant Period

STSM period 10/11/2020 to 31/03/2021

The 4th Call for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs), the second in the 2nd Grant Period, under the COST Action CA18111 PlantEd is open. We encourage STSM candidates to submit their applications from 7 September 2020 until the 1 November 2020.

Covid-19 related information:
We are aware that the current situation with Covid-19 continues to make travel difficult for many of us. We therefore encourage all to carefully monitor the situation for travel and accommodation, as well as local/national recommendations, before and during the planning of their STSM.
We strongly recommend everyone to only book flight tickets and accommodation that is fully, or at least partly, refundable. NB PlantEd cannot reimburse any costs for an STSM that has been cancelled.
If you have been granted funding for an STSM, but are forced to postpone the travel, this is possible but only within the grant period. Hence, all the STSMs this grant period have to be finalised before 31 March 2021.
STSM grantees that have already received funding through the 3rd call, but have postponed their travel, do not need to apply again in this 4th call.

Objectives of STSM

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits aimed at supporting individual mobility, strengthening existing networks, fostering collaboration between COST Action Participants. A 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 institutes.

1) To consolidate existing networks and to create new ones among Action participants, through joint research, proposals, manuscripts etc.
2) To facilitate transfer of knowledge and training in new techniques, research equipment etc.
3) To provide opportunities for career development for Early Career Investigators (ECIs), through mentoring by qualified researchers in the Action.

Important dates

4th call launched: 7 September 2020
Application deadline: 1 November 2020
Expected decision: 6 November 2020
STSM period: 10 November 2020 to 31 March 2021. The minimum period is five days and the maximum is 140 days in this call.


This call is open to all participants from participating COST countries, approved NNC institutes and approved European RTD organisation (a host can be anyone in the Action, incl IPCs. Priority will be given to Early Career Researchers (ECIs, less than 8 years of experience from obtaining PhD). A balance between Working Groups, gender and geographical range will also be considered. STSM applicants must be engaged in an official research programme or be affiliated with an institute or legal entity carrying out research.

Scientific Topics

Experimental work plan in the STSM application of candidates should be developed within the scope of one of the Action Working Groups:

  • WG1 – Technical platforms
  • WG2 – Impact assessment
  • WG3 – Policies and regulations
  • WG4 – Perceptions and opinions
  • WG5 – Integration and communication

It is also possible to focus the STSM period on the drafting of a funding proposal together with a host, such as Marie Curie Fellows or other existing programmes that are suitable for e.g. postdoctoral research.

Financial Support

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 calculation of the financial contribution for each STSM must respect the following criteria:

  • Up to a maximum of EUR 3000 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;
  • Up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.

The Action Chair, Vice Chair and STSM Coordinator can approve differentiated country rates to cover accommodation and meal expenses based on the perceived cost of living in the host country.

Following the COST rules, the grant is paid after the STSM has been completed and the report approved (see below). The grant will be paid directly to the bank account entered in the e-Cost system.

How to apply

The applicant must develop the proposal jointly with a research team at a Host institute. An applicant may choose to contact any research team participating in the Action. The applicant should complete:

  • A fully completed COST STSM application form (use the online registration / submission tool:
  • A motivation letter
  • Applicant CV
  • A written agreement of the host institution
  • A letter of support from the home institution
  • A financial data (amount for travel and subsistence). Please use the information to calculate the subsistence amount depending on the host country.

Such documents send to the official site of the Action and forward to:

Please remember that the applicant is responsible for obtaining an agreement with the Host institution, before submitting the application.

Potential STSM hosts

An applicant is free to contact any researcher of the Action in order to suggest and negotiate an STSM proposal. Also researchers from NNC and IPC countries (see link above) can serve as STSM hosts.

You can find a list of all Action Management Committee members, substitutes, and Action Observers here. You can also find descriptions of excellent research by PlantEd participants in the Book of Abstracts from the 1st PlantEd conference.

Potential STSM hosts are welcome to present their research profiles in the dedicated page at the Members only section of the PlantEd website.

Evaluation of proposals

The evaluation of the applications is performed by the STSM Committee together with the Action Chair or Vice Chair. The evaluation criteria consider the scientific scope of the proposal and how the mission can support the Action in achieving its scientific objectives, as well as how the mission will contribute to the professional development of the applicant. Also ECI status, geographical balance, and gender balance will be considered. The STSM Committee will also aim to achieve a balance of granted STSMs among the five Action WGs.

In case of approval, the STSM Coordinator will first inform the Grant Holder by e-mail. The Grant Holder will subsequently inform the successful applicants by sending them a Grant letter with an official approval of the STSM application, a “Payment Request” (to be completed after the completion of the STSM) and the level of the financial grant given. The Applicant has to confirm the acceptance of the grant by returning the Grant letter with his/her signature. In case of rejection, the STSM Coordinator will inform the applicant by e-mail.

After the STSM

The grantee is required to submit a scientific report to the host institution, Action Chair, Vice Chair, Grant Holder and STSM Coordinator for approval within 30 days after the end date of the STSM (or not later than 10 April 2021, if the STSM finished in the end of March).

The report should contain:

  • A scientific report
  • An official letter/confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM

The Action Chair and STSM Coordinator are responsible for approving the scientific report. The failure to submit the scientific report within the stipulated time will effectively cancel the grant. Once approved, payment of the STSM grant will be made by bank-to-bank transfer to the grantee.


For more information and enquiries please do not hesitate to contact the STSM Coordinator:

Dr Vladislava Galovic, PhD

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