Topic: Container characteristics during seedling nursery cultivation and its relationship with outplanting performance

Objective: The objective of this STSM is to update, clean and analyze a global database of studies dealing with the relationship between container characteristics, morphological traits of seedling and outplanting performance.

Time: 3 weeks between 15th April and 15th May 2024

Host institution: Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Madrid, Spain)

Coordinator: Enrique Andivia (

Topic: WG4-D15: Assessment of early forest restoration and reforestation success

Time: January 2024

Objective: Analysis of the questionnaire output and finalizing a draft for Deliverable 15.

Coordinator: Antonio T. Monteiro


Short Term Scientific Missions Call 1

Open from: April 12, 2022

Deadline for applications to be submitted: August 20, 2022 (23:59, CET)

Expected date of notification: Up to two weeks from receiving the application.

Latest date of completion of STSM: September 20, 2022

Please read this call carefully as there are some important changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Topic: Compendiums on the best practices for cultivating and establishing main European forest trees

Objective: To write a short, updated manual on the main activities around cultivating and field establishment of main European forest species.

Time: August 2022

Coordinator: Pedro Villar-Salvador

Topic: Meta-analysis on the effect of nursery hardening techniques on the stress tolerance and outplanting performance of woody plants

Time: August 2022

Objective: To assess if hardening techniques in the nursery effectively increase the outplanting performance of forest woody species.

Coordinator: Jaime Puértolas

Topic: Scientific knowledge, legislation and practical experiences in defining the quality of Forest Planting Material across Europe

Time: August 2022

Coordinator: Milan Mataruga

Applying for a STSM during the Covid19 Pandemic

The application must describe how the activities proposed to take place during the STSM can be safely conducted according to current international health and safety recommendations. Considering this, we recommend that activities only involve few people (i.e., no large gatherings), and are to be conducted either outdoors or in indoor spaces that are large enough to enable social distancing. Please note that:

  • The letter from the Host Organization must confirm that the Host Institution is able to accept visitors under their anti-Covid19 health and safety policy and it must specify that the proposed activities can safely take place on their premises and that social distancing rules and prevention measures are in place.
  • The letter from the Home Institution must confirm that travel for its staff is allowed under their anti-Covid19 health and safety policy.

Both the Host and Home Institutions commit to update their endorsement closer to the travel date upon request.

What Are STSMs?

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSM) are one of the favourite COST networking tools! They are exchange programmes between researchers involved in a COST Action, allowing scientists to visit an institution or laboratory in another COST Member state. These scientific missions may last up to six months in another COST Member/Cooperating Member or Near-Neighbour Country joining the Action. Their aim is to foster collaboration in excellent research infrastructures and share new techniques that may not be available in a participant’s home institution or laboratory.

Action members are encouraged to promote their projects to potential STSM applicants thus encouraging collaboration between institutions whilst strengthening the Actions outputs and network.

Who can apply?

STSMs are open for PhDs, PostDocs, and advanced career researchers employed at institutions in countries participating in “PEN-CAFoRR”, or at approved institutions. STSMs must be performed between COST countries – researchers cannot apply for an STSM within their own country.

Priority will be given to Early Career Investigators (ECI) and PhD students working on forest restoration issues.

Particular consideration will also be given to candidates moving from/to COST Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITCs), which include Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia and Turkey.

International COST participants may host STSM researchers from European COST countries but may not apply for STSMs themselves.

Awards throughout the annual grant period (GH) will be made to support scientific excellence, and to support a variety of researchers in terms of gender, career stage, affiliation, and nationality.

The following table shows the STSM scenarios available to eligible applicants:

Applicant´s Home Institution STSM Host Institution
Located in a Participatin COST Full Member / COST Cooperating Member ·        Located in another Participating COST Full Member / COST Cooperating Member

·        Located in a Participating COST Partner Member

·        Action MC Observer from IPC

·        Action MC Observer from NNC

·        The EU Commission or an EU Body, Office or Agency

·        An Approved European RTD Organisation

·        An Approved International Organisation

Action Mc Observer from NNC ·        Located in a Participating COST Full Member / COST Cooperating Member
Located in an Approved European RTD Organisation ·        Located in a Participating COST Full Member / COST Cooperating Member

What can you apply for?

You can apply for a short-term scientific mission of the duration between 5 and 90 days (including travel, and up to 180 days if the applicant is an ECI) within a single grant period. A STSM Grant is a fixed financial contribution, which takes into consideration the budget request of the applicant and the outcome of the evaluation of the STSM application; it includes travel, accommodation and meal expenses of the Grantee. It does not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking a given mission, meaning that STSM grantees shall make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security and pension matters. The cost of research materials is not eligible for consideration as part of the grant.

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 max of EUR2500 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant;
  • up to a max of EUR160 per day can be afforded for accommodation & meal expenses;
  • for ECIs, a max amount of EUR3500 can be afforded to the Grantee for STSMs with a duration of between 91 & 180 days – For ECIs partaking in STSMs with a duration of between 5 & 90 days, the limit is EUR2500; STSM activities must occur in their entirety within the dates specified in this call.

An average cost of EUR 1500 per each STSM is typically expected. Be realistic estimating your travel expenses and subsistence costs!

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

How to apply?

Applications for STSMs are managed through the e-Cost management tool. The link to the STSM application is available at You will need an e-Cost profile to log in or you can create one using the site.

It is highly recommended to consult further important and updated information about STSMs (duration, financial support and reimbursement) in the COST Annotated Rules.

The application for a STSM is composed of two steps:

Step 1. Online registration by the applicant

The Applicant must use the online e-Cost tool to register the request for an STSM. The following information has to be encoded with the registration:

  • the title of the planned STSM;
  • the planned dates and length of stay;
  • a short description of the academic details of the proposed STSM
  • a short description of the proposed work plan (about 250 words);
  • name, postal address and email of the prospective host at the receiving institute;
  • a budget request with breakdown for the costs of the STSM.

Step 2. Formal STSM application and annexes

After encoding the information and pressing the “submit” button the online registration tool will issue a formal STSM application which has to be downloaded and sent by the applicant electronically (by email as attachment) to:

Please note that together with the formal STSM application the applicant needs to send necessary documents to support the application at the evaluation process. The supporting document include:

Instructions for preparation of the STSM proposal

The maximum length of the STSM proposal is 5 pages. In addition, there are page and word limits applied to the various sections as detailed below.

Please use font size 12pt with single line spacing. The page size is A4 and all margins should be at least 15 mm. Make sure that you use the correct format to prepare the proposal, you do not exceed the maximum number of pages and that your proposal is complete.

A complete proposal should include the following:

  • Description of work (max 3 pages)
  1. Background
  2. Aims and objectives
  3. Justification for the choice of the host institution
  4. Description of the work to be carried out by the applicant at the host institution
  5. Expected results
  6. Dissemination of results
  • Detailed plan of activities (max 1 page): This section should include a diagrammatic work plan (e.g., a Gantt chart) for the entire duration of the STSM.
  • Benefit to COST Action CA19128 (max ½ page)

Benefits to the Applicant (max ½ page)

Evaluation and Ranking Process

NOTE: The topic of STSM application should fit in the scope of PEN-CAFoRR Action! Applications that do not fit in the scope of PEN-CAFoRR will be declined. Applications that contribute to the fulfillment of the Action deliverables will be given priority.

COST can request additional information to substantiate the information contained within the documents submitted by STSM applicants.

The application will be evaluated by the STSM Committee, leaded by STSM Coordinator.

The applications will be ranked by the STSM responsible together with the WG leaders based on:
– scientific quality,
– feasibility of the approach proposed,
– benefit to the development of the COST Action.

The selection will follow the COST policies on inclusiveness (gender, age, geography).

The final ranking will be approved by the Action Chair and Co-Chair. The researchers who applied to the call will receive the results of the selection from the STSM responsible.
The selected researchers should wait for the official invitation from the Grant Holder before booking any travel arrangements.


STSM Committee

Evaluation Form STMS – PEN-CAFoRR (CA19128)

Applicant’s name: ____________________________

Reference code: _______________

Tick the most appropriate option according to the following scale: 1 (poor); 2 (fair); 3 (good); 4 (very good); 5 (excellent)

Applicant CV (up to 10 points)
1 2 3 4 5
Estimate the ability of applicant to realize the proposed STMS
Publications related to the working plan proposal
Working plan proposal (up to 10 points)
1 2 3 4 5
Clear justification of activities which should be realized during the STMS
Connection to COST action CA19128 and priorities defined in MoU
COST Action benefits (up to 15 points)
1 2 3 4 5
Clear definition of the CST action CA19128 benefits from the proposed STSM
Connection to CA19128 deliverables
Dissemination of outcomes from STSM
Training benefits for the applicant (up to 5 points)
1 2 3 4 5
Expected benefits for the applicant from the proposed STSM
Geographical inclusiveness (up to 10 points)
Home institution is a COST Inclusiveness country (5 points)
Host institution is a COST Inclusiveness country (5 points)
TOTAL SCORE (maximum 50 points)

Minimum score to be considered for a STMS is 31.

Your obligations as grantee after the STSM grant

  1. Write and submit a scientific report to the Host Institution and to the Grand Awarding Coordinator within 30 days from the end date of the STSM (template can be found here).
  2. Acquire confirmation of formal acceptance of the scientific report from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution.
  3. Acquire approval of the Action Chair or Grand Awarding Coordinator in order to effect the payment of the Grant.
  4. Submit a brief of the STSM outputs for the Action’s website describing in summary the scientific report which will also be made available online.
  5. Make a short video (or provide video material and pictures) about the work for the Action’s YouTube channel.
  6. Prepare the presentation of your work (poster or presentation) for the next Action meeting after the STSM or when called upon by the Action Chair or Grand Awarding Coordinator.

The scientific report should include the following information:

  • Purpose of the STSM
  • Description of the work carried out during the STSM;
  • Description of the main results obtained
  • Future collaboration with the host institution (if applicable)
  • Foreseen publications/articles resulting from the STSM (if applicable)

The report should be accompanied by:

  • Confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM (official signed letter);
  • Confirmation from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution that they formally accept your scientific report (email confirmation).

The brief of the STSM outputs should include the following:

  • Name:
  • Institution:
  • Research Interest: (one sentence)
  • Summary of research completed in STSM: (<400 words)
  • Synthesis and application [of research?]: (<100 words)
  • Wider benefit of the STSM to the participant: (<200 words)
  • Key Outputs
  • If possible, include a photograph of you alongside your collaborators and a short quote describing your experience.

Please note that failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days from the end date of the STSM will effectively cancel the Grant.