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Short Term Scientific Missions

Short Term Scientific Missions

Last Call opened from 04/12/2023 until 06/01/2024. Next call will be around July

What is an STSM?

Short-term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits for researchers within their Action. 

This exchange programme facilitates individuals to spend research time at an institution or laboratory based in a different country, which is also part of the Action. STSMs are great opportunities for researchers to share techniques and gain skills that may not be available at their home institution or laboratory.

Anyone officially participating in CosmoVerse can apply to STSMs grants but evaluation criteria (described in the dedicated section below) will matter for awarding the grants.

Both the Grantee and the Host must be affiliated to institutions within COST, Cooperating and Partner members countries, as listed in the COST web page.

The Grantee and the Host Institution must be in different countries.

All applicants/grantees must be acquainted with rules and procedures described in the Annotated Rules in Section A2, and more specifically in subsection A2-2.3.

All the written outputs/deliverables derived from the STSM funds must properly acknowledge COST Action CA21136 CosmoVerse funding, as detailed in the COST acknowledgement guidelines. More specifically, the sentence “This article/publication is based upon work from COST Action CA21136 Addressing observational tensions in cosmology with systematics and fundamental physics (CosmoVerse) supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).” in the Acknowledgement section is expected in any follow-up publications.

The STSM must happen within one Grant Period (between 1 November and 31 October the year after).

At the end of the STSM, the Grantee must submit in e-COST the following documents within at the latest 30 days after the end of the STSM, or 15 days after the end of the Grant Period, whichever date comes first:

  • Scientific report on the work developed, main achievements of the STSM and planned future follow up activities.
  • Host approval of the scientific report.

The maximum grant that can be awarded is €2000 in total. STSM Grants do not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission.

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

The amount of the grant must be estimated by the applicants after the following criteria:

  • The budget can cover a maximum of 6 nights, i.e., funding from 1 day before the start of the STSM to 1 day after the end of the STSM minimum length.
  • The daily rate for accommodation, food, and local transport must be calculated based on the official COST table (link also available on the Annotated Rules).
  • Long-distance travel expenses must follow general COST rules.

The effective STSM length may be longer than 5 days with the same budget. This is up to the candidate’s budget management.

Grants are processed only after the STSM ends, and after the reporting documents have been uploaded in the system, and if the STSM is approved.

The applicant can apply for a pre-payment of 50% of the Grant. The applicant must keep in mind that the transfer of the 50% of the Grant can only take place after the mission has started and will be decided by the Grant Holder (GH) Institution. When the STSM applicant requests and is granted a pre-payment of 50% of the grant, the STSM host receives a notification requesting her/him to confirm to the GH that the STSM started on schedule. Without the host confirmation, the prepayment cannot be done.

For year 2, there will be two calls:

  • The first application was open from 4 December 2023 until 6 January 2024, the selection process was conducted in January 2024, the decision communicated end January, and the STSMs will have to happen in the period February-June 2024.

For year 1, calls for STSM applications were open three times for 1 month:

  • The first application was open from 7 December 2022 until 8 January 2023, the selection process was conducted in January 2023, the decision was communicated end January, and the STSMs happened in the period February-June 2023.
  • The second application period was open from 15 May 2023 until 11 June 2023, the selection process was conducted in June 2023, the decision was communicated before 10 July 2023, and the STSMs happened in the period 17 July – 30 October 2023.
  • The third application period was open between the 7 and 29 August 2023, the decision was communicated by 1 September 2023, and the STSMs took place in the period 28 August – 30 October 2023.

It is the duty of the applicant to choose and contact the Host institution and the organisation of the application process. A Grant Awarding user guide is available.

  • Applicants must register for an e-COST profile to be active.
  • Applicants must complete the online application form.
  • The following compulsory documents must be included in the online application:
    • Title; start and end date; budget requested by the applicant; information about the host institution and contact person.
    • STSM application form (template available on e-COST) describing (max 2 pages): Goals, description of the work to be carried out by the applicant, expected outcomes and description of the contribution to the Action MoU objectives.
    • CV (No more than 3 pages – including a list of selected academic publications – if applicable).
    • Letter of support from the home institution (in case of postgraduate students).
    • Written agreement from the Host Institution that the STSM applicant can perform the activities detailed in the STSM work plan on the agreed dates.

The Grant Awarding Committee will be responsible for the selection of the Grantees. The scientific plan of the proposed STSM will be evaluated as for its quality, and connection and relevance to the goals and the topics of CosmoVerse.

Priority will be given in the following ranking order, as per COST Excellence and Inclusiveness Principles:

Postgraduate students and Young Researchers (i.e., < 40 years old) from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC)

Postgraduate students and Young Researchers (i.e., < 40 years old) from non-ITC

Senior researchers (i.e., > 40 years old) from ITC

Senior researchers (i.e., > 40 years old) from non-ITC

Gender equality will also be taken into consideration.

Applicants who did not receive an STSM from CosmoVerse will also be prioritised.

STSM & ITC conference grants committee composition:

The committee was formed by:

  • 2 permanent members:
    • Grant Coordinator: Vincenzo Salzano;
    • Vice chair: Eleonora Di Valentino. Because of multiple conflicts of interest she has been substituted by a WG leader, Radosław Wojtak.
  • 3 non-permanent members for 1 year term, randomly chosen from MC members.

Evaluation criteria

The committee has agreed to follow the scheme below to evaluate and rank the application.

This same scheme will be officially adopted for all future STSM grant calls.

  • First shortlist with a “YES” or “NO”: to evaluate if a project generally agrees with the purposes and goals of an STSM and with the main scientific topics of CosmoVerse.
  • The STSM projects are divided in three sections:
    • “Goals”
    • “Working plan”
    • “Expected outputs and Contribution to the Action MoU objectives and deliverables”
  • For each of the above sections the reviewers assign a score: “0”, “1” or “2”.
  • After collecting all evaluations, the Grant Awarding Manager proceeds to average the marks.
  • Finally, scores related to the age/ITC criteria (as described in the rules) are given following the scheme:
    • “4”: Master, PhD students and Young Researchers (i.e., < 40 years old) from an ITC;
    • “3”: Master, PhD student and Young Researchers (i.e., < 40 years old) from a non-ITC;
    • “2”: Senior (i.e., > 40 years old) from ITC countries;
    • “1”: Senior (i.e., > 40 years old) from non-ITC countries.
  • On the final resulting ranking, the only threshold applied to decide which applications to be funded is the planned STSM budget.

For this second year, the total STSM budget amounts to 23,000€.

STSM Grantees

Home Institution
Host Institution
Duration of stay (days)
Topic of project
Year 2 Grantees
Vladimir Sreckovic
Institute of Physics, Belgrade
Technical University in Sofia
Investigation of chemistry of lithium, hydrogen and helium molecular ions in the early Universe: dataset needed for modelling
Vitor da Fonseca
Faculdade De Ciencias Da Universidade De Lisboa
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo
Connections in the dark sector
Konstantinos Dialektopoulos
Transilvania University of Brasov
Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb
Solving tensions with a gravitational θ-term in Symmetric Teleparallel gravity
Guilherme Franzmann
Stockholm University
University of Edinburgh
Addressing the Hubble tension beyond perturbation theory
Francesco Sorrenti
Universite De Geneve
Università di Torino – Dipartimento di Fisica
What peculiar velocities can tell us
Elsa Teixeira
Universite De Montpellier
University of Sheffield
Can a negative cosmological constant help address the cosmic tensions?
Elisa Fazzari
Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza
University of Sheffield
Comparison between metric f(R)-gravity and other scenarios for the Hubble tension solution: the role of Cepheid and BAO data
Charalampos Tzerefos
National Observatory of Athens
Scuola Superiore Meridionale, Naples
Gravitational waves induced by poisson fluctuations of primordial black holes in f(Q) gravity
Biswajit Karmakar
University of Silesia in Katowice
Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb 
Radiative neutrino mass and cosmological puzzles
Year 1 Grantees
Aleksander Kozak
University of Wrocław
Facultad de Ciencias Físicas, Universidad Complutense Madrid 
Investigating lithium-7 abundance problem in modified gravity: astrophysical and cosmological perspectives
Aleksander Kozak
University of Wrocław
Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy, University of Malta
Investigating light elements’ abundances in the Palatini-type theories of gravity
Antonio Ferreiro
Radboud University Nijmegen
Instituto de Astrofísica Andalucía & Universidad de Granada
Vacuum polarization and backreaction of quantum fields in the expansion of the late time Universe
University of Cambirdge
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Dark Energy in the Galactic Center
Débora Aguiar Gomes
Institute of Physics
Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy, University of Malta
On the Lithium Cosmological Problem in Modified Gravity
Denitsa Staicova
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Complutense University of Madrid
Hubble tension in Lorentz Invariance Violation studies from GRB time-delays
Elsa Teixeira
School of Mathematics and Statistics, Sheffield
University of Rome Sapienza
Addressing cosmological tensions with modified gravity
Emre Ozulker
Istanbul Technical University
University of Sheffield
Addressing major cosmological tensions with models beyond the standard LCDM model
Enrico Specogna
University of Sheffield
Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy, University of Malta
Exploring extended modified gravity models with current and future cosmological data
Enrico Specogna
University of Sheffield
La Sapienza University of Rome
Investigating Phenomenological Extensions of the Standard Model through the Lens(ing) of CMB Data
Gabriele Barca
La Sapienza University of Rome
Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio – Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (ICE-CSIC) 
Modified Gravity as a Paradigm for the Hubble Tension
Gerardo García-Moreno
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, Granada
Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics, and Particle Physics (IMAPP) – Radboud University Nijmegen
Reconsidering homogeneity and isotropy of the Universe
Ismael Ferrero
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
Instituto de Física Teórica (IFT) – Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM)
Enhancing Galaxy Mocks through Improved Galaxy Property Assignment”.
Konstantinos Dialektopoulos
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy, University of Malta 
Reconstructing functions with Artificial Neural Networks
Laxmipriya Pati
University of Tartu
Institute of Astrophysics and Space Science , University of Lisbon
Investigating the Hubble Constant Tension through Non-Trivial Connections in Extended Symmetric Teleparallel Gravity
Marco de Cesare
Università di Napoli “Federico II”
University of Sheffield
Addressing the Hubble tension with diffusion
Matteo Forconi 
La Sapienza, University of Rome
University of Oslo
Investigating Physical Mechanisms for Depolarizing the Cosmic Microwave Background
Matteo Forconi
La Sapienza University of Rome
University of Sheffield
Models beyond LCDM
Miguel Pinto
Faculty of Sciences
University of Valencia
Addressing cosmological tensions with Palatini formulation of modified theories of gravity
Rebecca Briffa
University of Malta
Università degli Studi di Torino
Scalar tensor theories in Teleparallel Gravity
Ruchika Kaushik
La Sapienza University of Rome
Instituto de Fisica Corpuscular (IFIC) 
Addressing observational tensions in cosmology by allowing possible variations in fundamental physics.
Ruchika Kaushik
La Sapienza University of Rome
University of Sheffield
Cosmology with JWST and non-standard Lambda
Vasiliki Karanasou
University of Tartu
Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM)
Quasinormal Modes in New General Relativity
William Giarè
University of Sheffield
University of Trento
New physics in light of the current tensions between Cosmic Microwave Background and Weak Lensing surveys
Yuejia Zhai
School of Mathematics and Statistics, Sheffield
Laboratoire Univers et Particules de Montpellier
Exploring the cosmological tensions with EDE in extended cosmologies