Saving European Archaeology from the Digital Dark Age – STSMs

What Are STSMs?

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are exchange visits aimed at supporting researchers’ individual mobility, strengthening existing networks and fostering collaboration. STSMs are intended especially, but not solely, for young researchers.
The aim of a STSM as defined by COST is to contribute to the scientific objectives of a COST Action. These Missions aim at strengthening the existing COST Actions whilst at the same time allowing those partaking in the missions to learn a new technique, gain access to specific data, instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions/organisations.

Who can apply?

STSM applicants must be engaged in an official research programme as a PhD student or postdoctoral fellow or may be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research (Home Institution).

The Host Institution is the institution/organisation that will host the STSM grantee. STSMs must be performed between COST countries – researchers cannot apply for an STSM within their own country. The COST Association and the Grant Holder of the COST Action may not be considered as being an STSM grantee’s employer. A list of institutions that have already expressed interest to host SEADDA STSM grantees can be found below. However, applicants are free to propose other SEADDA institutions.

What do STSMs provide?

You can apply for an STSM of a duration between 5 and 90 days (and, if you are an Early Career Investigator (ECI) up to 180 days). The STSM is a fixed grant which takes into consideration the budget request of the applicant and the outcome of the evaluation of the STSM application. 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 STSM Committee will consider differentiated country rates to cover accommodation and meal expenses based on the perceived cost of living in the host country.

The following funding conditions apply and must be respected:

  • Up to a maximum of EUR 3500 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant
  • Up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day can be afforded for accommodation and meal expenses
  • Up to a maximum of EUR 300 can be afforded for travel costs.

STSM activities must occur in their entirety within the dates specified in the call.

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

Please note that usually the awarded grant will be paid only after the STSM has been completed. This means that the applicant must have prior financial support (e.g. from their own institution).

However, specific provisions have been introduced to enable researchers from ITC participating in the COST Action to request a pre-payment of 50% of their STSM Grant when they complete the first day of their STSM. In such case, the representative of the Host Institution must confirm by e-mail to the Grant Holder that the STSM applicant has officially started the mission on day 1. Only then the Grant Holder can arrange the payment of 50% of the STSM grant. The remaining 50% of the Grant is payable once the administrative requirements have been satisfied after the STSM.

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

In your application, you need to describe the aim of the proposed STSM and how it contributes to the scientific goals of the COST Action SEADDA. You have to declare the planned expenses and the outputs planned as result of the STSM.

For detailed rules regarding eligibility and financial support, please see the relevant sections of the COST Vademecum.

How do you apply?

Calls for SEADDA STSM applications will be issued at least once per year. The deadline of the first call is Friday, 25 October 2019.

The following is a step-by-step guide to applying for an STSM and the criteria by which STSM applications will be assessed.

The application process is as follows:

  1. Applicants should carefully read the funding rules described in Section 8 of the COST H2020 Vademecum (COST Vademecum).
  2. Applicants must submit an application using e-COST:
  3. If you do not already have an e-COST account you will first need to ‘create an account’ – which will include providing the details of the bank account where the grant will be transferred to if your STSM application is approved and the STSM successfully completed.
  4. Applicants must obtain a letter of invitation from the Host Institution confirming that they can undertake the STSM on the given dates should their application be approved.
  5. Applicants must complete, submit and download their STSM application online at:
  6. Applicants must send their application form and the relevant supporting documents for evaluation to STSM coordinator Dr. Edeltraud Aspöck (edeltraud.aspoeck[AT] with the subject SEADDA – STSM application – applicant’s name.
  7. The list of supporting documents to be submitted for the evaluation are:
  • Letter of invitation to the applicant from a senior researcher at the Host institution.
  • The submitted STSM application form (downloadable when the online application is submitted – see 4 above).
  • A letter including an overview of the proposed activities that will be performed, a workplan for the visit, a description of the proposed contributions to the scientific objectives of the SEADDA Action, an outline of the host’s scientific expertise/resources in support of the STSM. The letter should be a maximum of 1000 words.
  • A letter of support from the applicant’s Home Institution.
  • A full C.V. (including a list of academic publications – if applicable).
  1. The SEADDA STSM committee assesses the proposal (see ‘STSM Selection Criteria’ below) and may seek expert but impartial advice to inform their decision. If approved, the STSM coordinator sends the application and approval to the Grant Holder & Action Chair for final check.
  2. The Grant Holder sends the applicant a grant letter to sign and return. The STSM should not be started until this letter has been signed and returned.

After the STSM

  1. Within 30 days of completing the STSM, the Grant holder must submit a scientific report (max. 1000 words) to the STSM coordinator and to a senior researcher at the STSM Host institution. This must include: the purpose of the mission; description of work carried out; description of main results/outputs; plan of future collaborations with Host (if applicable); planned publications resulting from STSM (if applicable); confirmation of successful STSM by Host.
    The failure to do so will effectively cancel the grant.
  2. Payment of the Grant is subject to the approval of the report by the persons delegated by the Action’s MC and by a senior researcher at Host institution. The Grant Holder executes payment to STSM Applicant.

More in-depth information can be found at the COST Vademecum (Section 8).

Criteria for Awarding STSM

For awarding STSM grants the COST key principles are relevant: excellence, inclusivity and balance.

  • The relevance and application of the proposal to the field of the Action: The scientific aims of the proposed research have to be relevant and applicable to the aims of SEADDA (1-5 points).
  • The quality and clarity of the proposed research: The importance and timeliness of the research have to be argued by the STSM applicant and must be of high quality (1-5 points).
  • The choice of Host institution: The specific scientific reasons for visiting their chosen Host institution have to be provided. The geographical distribution of the Host institutions will be tracked to ensure there is an evenly-spread network for knowledge transfer and involvement of ITC countries (1-5 points).
  • The home institution of the researcher: The number of applications from each institution will be taken into account. Again, a fair spread of researches across the network and involvement of ITC countries will be ensured (1-5 points).
  • The researcher’s profile: The researcher’s potential of successfully completing the STSM mission will be evaluated on the basis of their previous work and achievements and according to their career stage. In line with COST policy, we will preferentially award STSMs to early career investigators (PhD + <8 years). This should not discourage more experienced researchers from applying (1-5 points).
  • The potential publication/output of the proposed research: This will be evaluated based on the publication/output plan submitted with the application (1-5 points).

SEADDA STSM Host Institutions

The following SEADDA partners are formally offering to host STSMs.

The Cyprus Institute

  • Name and address: The Cyprus Institute, 20 Konstantinou Kavafi Street, 2121, Aglantzia, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Website:
  • Contact: Sorin Hermon (
  • Topics of expertise / potential projects: building domain ontology, 3D data repositories, integration of multi-disciplinary archaeological data.
  • Duration of stay: up to available resources.

Incipit CSIC (in collaboration with the University of A Coruña & University of Santiago de Compostela)

  • Name and address: Incipit CSIC, Avda. de Vigo s/n; 15705 Santiago de Compostela; Spain
  • Website:
  • Contact: Cesar Gonzalez-Perez (
  • Topics of expertise / potential projects: archaeological information modelling; ontologies in archaeology; “soft” issues such as subjectivity, temporality, vagueness and multilingualism in archaeological information; archaeological discourse and inference modelling; archaeological dataset management, extension and reuse.
  • Duration of stay: We are open to almost anything, from a couple of weeks to 6 months or longer, depending on the candidate and the topic.

Please note that this would be a collaboration with Patricia Martín-Rodilla ( at University of A Coruña and potential connections with Martín Pereira-Fariña ( at University of Santiago de Compostela, depending on the topic and the candidate’s interests.

Laboratoire Archéologie et Territoires (CITERES-LAT)

  • Name and address: Laboratoire Archéologie et Territoires (Tours, France)
  • Website:
  • Contact: Olivier Marlet (
  • Topics of expertise / potential projects: Linked Open Data and Ontology; potential projects : collaborate on specific developments of the OpenArchaeo platform (user-friendly semantic web query) and the OpenTermAlign application (alignment with standardized vocabularies); prepare data sets to feed OpenArchaeo.
  • Duration : 2 months at least, depending on the candidates’ possibilities.

University of Minho Archeology Unit

  • Name and address: University of Minho Archeology Unit, Edifício dos Congregados, Avenida Central, nº 100. 4710-229 Braga. Portugal.
  • Website:
  • Contact: Luís Fontes (, Natália Botica (
  • Topics of expertise / potential projects: Characterization and analysis of funerary structures from fieldwork to digital data; archaeological dataset management; 2D and 3D photogrammetric models and other digital technologies to improve detailed studies, Linked Open Data.
  • Duration of stay: UAUM is open to setting the duration appropriate to the availability of the candidate and proposed topic.

Hypermedia Research Group

  • Name and address of institution: Hypermedia Research Group, Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL, UK
  • Website:
  • Contact: Douglas Tudhope (, Ceri Binding (
  • Topics of expertise / potential projects: Archaeological vocabulary issues and investigations as relevant to the candidate, including structured vocabulary development and standard representations, publication as linked data, mapping between vocabularies, data cleansing, vocabulary based text mining and automatic indexing including temporal and spatial vocabulary applications.
  • Duration of stay: Short visits of 1-3 weeks would be appropriate for some of the topics but we are also interested in the possibility of longer visits depending on the candidate, topic and plan of work.

Archaeology Data Service

Digital Antiquity

  • Name and address of the institution: Center for Digital Antiquity, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 872402, Tempe, Arizona, USA 85287-2402
  • Contact: Rachel Fernandez (, Keith Kintigh (
  • Topics of expertise / potential projects:
    • Standards for creating useful and reusable datasets, including metadata, formatting, and additional documentation. Exploring issues with creating and archiving large, complex datasets. Visiting researcher would be expected to come with an existing dataset(s) or in the process of creating one for their country or field of interest.
    • Reviewing and implementing FAIR principles and creating training documentation for archaeological repositories.
  • Duration of stay: 1-2 months

The Israel Antiquities Authority

  • Name and address of the institution: The Israel Antiquities Authority – offices spread all over the country
    Contact: Liat Weinblum (
    Topics of expertise / potential projects:
    • Methodology and Management of Preventive Archaeology on a National level,
    • Software tools for Digital Documentation of Archaeological Excavations, Integration of multi-disciplinary archaeological data
    • Analytical Laboratory (both MOlaband FIXlab), Photogrammetry Solutions for Archaeological Excavations
  • Duration of stay: up to available resources

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