ConservePlants

Second Call for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) - Grant Period: 1 May 2020 – 30 April 2021

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The main aim of STSM is to support collaboration between researchers and exchange visits between institutions from different countries that have joined this COST action. STSMs allow scientists to learn new techniques and gain access to specific equipment and methods not available in their home institution.

Each STSM has a minimum duration of one week (5 working days), the maximum duration is not limited.

 

The budget is limited up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day to cover meals and accommodation expenses, up to a maximum of EUR 300 for travel costs. A maximum of EUR 2 500 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant.

 

If the applicant is affiliated with an institute from an Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC*), (s)he 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.

 

Within this call we are looking for applicants to perform their STSMs in the following 6 topics:

 

STSM 1 Title: Influence of habitat and climatic conditions on population dynamics of endangered species

 

Brief description of the STSM: This STSM will be linked to the Task 1.1 “Review specific uses of life cycle data and suggest guidelines for wider use of these data in practical conservation” fulfilling Activity 5 “Modelling of environmental suitability and species performance for selected plants with the highest risk of extinction under future climate change”. Specifically, it will develop the issue using long term population data on Minuartia smejkalii as a case study. It will use these data to develop models of population dynamics under different environmental and climate scenarios and demonstrate how these data can be used to design suitable management actions of the species to ensure its long-term stability. The developed models will also be applicable to other threatened species studied by other members of the action.

 

STSM 2 Title: Assessing floral complexity as plant vulnerability indicator of the European flora – Data analyses

 

Brief description of the STSM: In the floral complexity project, we are examining whether plant species with complex flowers are more likely to be threatened. This project fits the activities of WG1, in particular Task 1.1, dealing with evaluation of species-based approaches and reproductive traits aimed at providing plant conservation actions. Researchers from 35 countries (30 participating in COST) have been asked to provide a list of fourteen intrinsic and extrinsic plant traits for all insect-pollinated taxa included in their country’s Red Data List. The datasets will be delivered by participants in the period

September – November 2020. Subsequently, statistical analysis of all collected data will be carried out at Theodora Petanidou’s lab until March 2021. The purpose of this STSM is to discuss the results of the statistical analysis, produce results and coordinate further actions. This work aims at gaining a deeper understanding of intrinsic plant vulnerability, and, depending on evidence, results may be used to propose intrinsic factors to be incorporated in plant conservation schemes.

 

Host: Theodora Petanidou, University of the Aegean, Greece

 

STSM 3 Title: Preparation and analysis of the Database of Conservation actions and institutions

 

Brief description of the STSM: One of the main activities of WG1 is to gather available data on conservation actions on threatened plant species and institutions dealing with plant conservation throughout Europe. For this, representatives of WG1, WG2 and WG4 have been working in a table that will be distributed to all members of COST Action ConservePlants to fulfill requested information. In that way, we will try to gather as much data as possible about previous (from 2000 onward) and on-going conservation actions in Europe and institutions dealing with these problems. This will be the basis for interactive platform that will be freely available to all interested parties. The final aim is to establish and reinforce the network of scientists and other stakeholders from different backgrounds and not only from biological science and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information between them. This STSM will be devoted to analyzing all the data collected and produce results. Analyses of several aspects of conservation actions in Europe, such as: geographical distributions of these actions; differences in organization, finances, success between, for example European Union (EU) and Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC); type of the involved institutions; characteristics of species covered by these actions and their habitats; type of actions performed, etc, will be undertaken. Finally, on the basis of all these analyses it will be possible to review the good and the bad sides of finished conservation actions, identify knowledge gaps in plant conservation and provide directions for future use.

 

STSM 4 Title: Genetic and genomic approaches in plant conservation

 

Brief description of the STSM: This STSM will be linked to the WP5 1st Goal that refers to the preparation of review papers, in particular, a “Review paper of the use of genetic and genomic information in the conservation of European threatened plants and their integration into management, conservation plans, and regulatory framework”. The literature on the state-of-the-art genomic tools utilized in plant conservation will be collected and reviewed. Besides the review work, laboratory work with molecular markers (especially Simple Sequence Repeats) will be carried out on the selected forest and fruit trees, such as cherry, chestnut, and walnut to estimate genetic diversity and population structure. Data analysis will be performed and the results will be interpreted and translated into conservation recommendations.

The STSM will give a chance to develop long-term collaboration and knowledge sharing between the applicant and the host lab in up-to-date genetic and genomic technologies in plant conservation.

 

 

STSM 5 Title: Population genetic tools for studying of rare species

 

Brief description of the STSM: Several population-genetic tools are available to study the diversity and population differentiation of rare and endangered plant species. Depending on the research question, source material, time and costs, there are method-specific preferences. Researchers are invited to visit the lab at Justus-Liebig-University to learn about pros, cons and limitations of population genetic tools, to get acquainted with molecular lab work, to conduct a small investigation and learn about analysis techniques. It would be nice if a small research project could be worked on during the stay, which would be published later.

Host: Birgit Gemeinholzer, Justus-Liebig-University, Germany

 

STSM 6 Title: Overview and analysis of existing conservation policy documents

 

Brief description of the STSM: A lack of coherence in plant conservation is an ongoing problem within European countries. There are significant differences between regions and countries within regions in financial resources and human expertise. The aim of the STSM is to create an overview of existing European policy documents in order to identify potential gaps. Data deficiencies should be identified in existing conservation assessments of the European vascular flora (2011), European medicinal plants (2014) and European trees (2019). Additionally, policy documents should be revised in order to identify major inconsistencies (e.g. habitat directive, Bern convention, CITES, etc.). Experiences in identification of gaps should be considered based on existing initiatives, e.g. the ENSCONET approach.

 

 

Important days:

Open call: 03/09/2020

Deadline for application: 21/09/2020

Final decision: 25/09/2020

First possible starting date: 26/09/2020

The STSM must be concluded until 15/3/2021

 

How to apply:

The guidelines for application are available here:

https://www.cost.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/STSM-userguide.pdf

 

The application must be done through the on-line application form (https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm/)

 

Applicants must submit the following information:

▪ Applicant details

▪ Home institution (the institution/organisation where the STSM applicant holds their primary affiliation)

▪ STSM details (project proposal):

- duration (the application must start and end between 26/09/2020 and 15/3/2021),

- aims and motivation (the benefits to be obtained from the STSM),

- a detailed plan of the work to be carried out,

- proposed contribution to the Action objectives,

- what techniques and equipment (s)he may learn to use.

▪ Bank details

▪ Host details (must be located in a different country than the country of the applicant)

▪ Financial support for travel costs (maximum 300 EUR) and subsistence (maximum 160 EUR per day).

▪ Supporting documents:

- STSM application in pdf

- CV

- letter of support from the home institution

- letter of agreement from the host institution

 

Who can apply?

- PhD students

- Early-Careers Investigators’ (ECIs): an applicant who is within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate (excluding maternity leave)

- Other applicants must be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution, organisation or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research

 

Evaluation criteria

Each proposal will be assessed independently by the STSM committee and an evaluation score will be given considering the proposal clarity, relevance for the Action, feasibility, planning and outputs. A maximum of one STSM per title will be awarded; in case there are more proposals for one title, evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

 

Very poor: proposal illogical and not understandable with no planning.

Poor: proposal with limited understanding, planning and no clear objectives.

Fair: proposal with some understanding, planning and objectives.

Good: good proposal but needs input to develop feasible STSM.

Excellent: proposal well designed in terms of planning, feasibility and projected outputs.

 

In the case of many proposals, PhD students, Early-Careers Investigators and applicants from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC*) will be given priority.

 

After the STSM

After completing the mission, the successful applicant is required to provide the following documents (must be submitted within 30 days after the completion of STSM):

- a scientific report;

- a short description of the work done with photos that can be used for dissemination purposes (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, ConservePlants Website);

- an official letter / email from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution formally accepting the scientific report.

 

For any further clarification, please contact the STSM coordinator Loukia Vassiliou (loukia.vassiliou@ari.gov.cy)

 

 

Previous calls

First Call for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) - Grant Period: 1 Nov 2019 – 30 April 2020

 

The main aim of STSM is to support collaboration between researchers and exchange visits between institutions from different countries that has joined this COST action. STSMs allow scientist to learn new techniques and gain access to specific equipment and methods not available in their home institution.

Each STSM has a minimum duration of one week (5 working days), the maximum duration is not limited. The budged is limited up to a maximum of EUR 160 per day to cover meals and accommodation expenses, up to a maximum of EUR 300 for travel costs. A maximum of EUR 2 500 in total can be afforded to each successful applicant.

If the applicant is affiliated with an institute from an Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC*), (s)he 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.

 

Who can apply?

- PhD students

- Early-Careers Investigators’ (ECIs): an applicant who is within a time span of up to 8 years from the date they obtained their PhD/doctorate (excluding maternity leave)

- Other applicants must be employed by, or affiliated to, an institution, organisation or legal entity which has within its remit a clear association with performing research

 

Evaluation criteria

Each proposal will be assessed independently by the STSM committee and an evaluation score will be given considering the proposal clarity, relevance for the Action, feasibility, planning and outputs.

 

Very poor: proposal illogical and not understandable. Not clearly linked to any WG.

Poor: proposal with limited understanding, planning and no clear objectives. Weakly linked to at least one WG.

Fair: proposal with some understanding, planning and objectives. Moderate links to at least one WG.

Good: good proposal but needs input to develop feasible STSM. Well linked to at least one WG.

Excellent: proposal well designed in terms of planning, feasibility and projected outputs. Strongly linked to at least one WG

In the case of many proposals, PhD students, Early-Careers Investigators and applicants from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC*) will be given priority.

 

Important days:

Open call: 21/11/2019

Deadline for application: 9/12/2019

Final decision: 16/12/2019

First possible starting date: 17/12/2019

The STSM must be concluded until 15/3/2020

 

How to apply:

The guidelines for application are available here: https://www.cost.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/STSM-userguide.pdf

The application must be done through the on-line application form (https://e-services.cost.eu/stsm/)

 

Applicants must submit the following information:

▪ Applicant details

▪ Home institution (the institution/organisation where the STSM applicant holds their primary affiliation)

▪ STSM details:

   - duration (the application must start and end between 17/12/2019 and 15/3/2020)

   - aims and motivation (the benefits to be obtained from the STSM)

   - a plan of the work to be carried out

   - proposed contribution to the Action objectives

   - what techniques and equipment (s)he may learn to use

▪ Bank details

▪ Host details (must be located in a different country than the country of the applicant)

▪ Financial support for travel costs (maximum 300 EUR) and subsistence (maximum 160 EUR per day).

▪ Supporting documents:

   - STSM application in pdf

   - CV

   - letter of support from the home institution

   - letter of agreement from the host institution

 

After the STSM

After completing the mission, the successful applicant is required to provide the following documents (must be submitted within 30 days after the completion of STSM):

- A scientific report

- An official letter / email from a senior researcher affiliated to the Host Institution formally accepting the scientific report

 

For any further clarification, please contact the STSM coordinator Loukia Vassiliou (loukia.vassiliou@ari.gov.cy)

 

*ITC Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the North Republic of Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey