Are you interested in the Comet Assay with a particular focus on Biomonitoring studies?

If so, hCOMET can support you with a fellowship mission ('Short Term Scientific Missions' - STSMs).
The STSM should contribute to the scientific objectives of hCOMET, and at the same time allow those participating to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions.
hCOMET encourages STSM Fellows to use the guidelines proposed here.

Application instructions and eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria and funding conditions:

  • STSMs should have duration between 5 days and 90 days (and up to 180 days if the applicant is an ECI).
  • Financial support is a contribution to the overall expenses incurred during the STSM and may not necessarily cover all of the associated expenses.
  • Financial support is limited to cover travel, accommodation and meal expenses, it is paid in the form of a Grant at the end of the visit and no receipts are required by COST.
  • If you are from an ITC country ( info on ITC's ) special conditions apply:
  • You can request the pre-payment of 50% of your STSM Grant after completion of the STSM's 1st day (confirmed by the Host though an email to the Grant Holder). The remaining 50% of the Grant is payable once the administrative requirements have been satisfied after the STSM.
  • The amounts granted for each individual STSM will be determined during the evaluation process.
  • Failure to submit the scientific report within 30 days from the end date of the STSM will effectively cancel the Grant.
  • Up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses.
  • Up to a maximum of EUR 2500 in total can be afforded to each successful STSM applicant.
  • A maximum amount of EUR 3500 can be afforded to ECIs in the case of STSMs with duration between 91 and 180 days (the limit of EUR 2500 must be respected for STSMs with duration between 5 and 90 days).

How to apply to an STSM:

Please send the following documents to the chair of the STSM Coordinator João Paulo Teixeira ( ).

  1.  STSM Application form-second year [STSM Application Form]
  2. A written letter of invitation (with signature) from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host institution (your mentor) that is also a written agreement from the Host Institution that the STSM applicant may perform the activities detailed in the STSM work plan on the agreed dates
  3. A motivation letter including a work plan detailing the proposed activities
  4. A support letter from the Home Institution (with signature)
  5. A full C.V. (including a list of academic publications - if applicable)

After approval in the STSM Coordinator (you will get an email from Joao Paulo Teixeira in both cases, either you are accepted or not), you need to apply via the COST web-site (you need to make your e-cost profile to enter, then click Create new STSM Request). In this official application through the COST website you need to fill:

The submitted STSM application form (downloadable when the online application is submitted);

A motivation letter (2 pages maximum) including:

  1. Name of applicant and contact details;
  2. A concise project title;
  3. Proposed start and end dates of the STSM;
  4. Aims and motivation (explain the scientific and/or other motivation for the STSM and what scientific and/or other outcomes you aim to accomplish with the STSM)
  5. Proposed contribution to the scientific objectives of the hCOMET Cost Action CA15132 (you can see objectives of  page)
  6. Techniques (detail what techniques or equipment you may learn to use, if applicable)
  7. Planning (detail the steps you will take to achieve your proposal aim)
  8. Applying for the pre-payment Grant is reserved only for the ITC participants (for the explanation see the end of this page). After saving the request, the form will be saved and on the left you will then be able to see the list of Supporting Documents that you need to upload on the e-cost.

These Supporting documents are the same documents that you have send to the STSM hCOMET committee:

  1. A letter of invitation from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host institution (your mentor) that is also a written agreement from the Host Institution that the STSM applicant may perform the activities detailed in the STSM work plan on the agreed dates
  2. A support letter from the Home Institution (with signature)
  3. A full C.V. (including a list of academic publications - if applicable)

The applicant will be formally notified of the outcome of their STSM application by the STSM Coordinator and get the final confirmation via e-COST (through your email, than you will be asked to download the Official Grant Letter from the link that will be given to you in that email). Your travel cannot start before receiving the Grant Letter.

For further information applicants are invited to read the STSM rules detailed in Section 7 of the COST Vademecum, available here .

Application evaluation:

The selection of applicants is based on the scientific scope of the STSM application, considering the perceived contribution that the proposed visit will make and that must clearly compliment the overall objectives of hCOMET - scientific objectives outlined in the Action's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Applications from Early Career Investigators (ECIs: researchers within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate) are encouraged.

PhD students are also eligible to take STSMs.

Applications of candidates belonging to an inclusiveness country are encouraged.

Required documents after the end of the STSM:

  1. The final report must be completed and approved within 30 days from the end date of the STSM for the money transfer to take place - failure to accomplish it will effectively cancel the Grant. No travel/accommodation/meal receipts are required. This final report must be submitted to the Host Institution (for information purposes only);
  2. The applicant is also responsible for acquiring an official acceptance letter/e-mail confirmation of acceptance from a senior Researcher affiliated to the Host Institution formally accepting the scientific report. This formal acceptance of the scientific report has to be sent to the Grant Holder ( email:  ) and to the STSM Coordinator ( email:  )

For formal approval and e-COST ARCHIVE:

After that step (formal approval), STSM is considered officially successfully finished and the STSM applicant will receive the approved funding for the STSM period.

Template for the STSM Scientific Report can be downloaded on your ecost profile among Supporting Documents or you can check it here .

The applicant is expected to acknowledge the financial support from hCOMET in all outputs arising from the STSM, by including the following text: "This [study] is an outcome of hCOMET (COST Action CA15132) - The comet assay as a human biomonitoring tool".

© 2018 Cristiana Costa Pereira for hCOMET | All rights reserved
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