Virtual Mobility (VM) Grants

VM CALL: all activity to end by mid October 2021.

Proposals from those who have attended a MW-Gaia Workshop or School are especially welcome.

VM Overview

Virtual Mobility (VM) Grants are devoted to strengthening the MW-Gaia networks by allowing individual participants to foster collaboration, exchange knowledge, learn new techniques, etc. performing activities that do not necessarily require in-person presence.

The VM Grants need to actively contribute to the activities and overall objectives of the MW-Gaia Action. All Action participants, particularly Early-Career Investigators (ECIs, less than 8 years from the PhD degree) may apply.

The VM Grant cannot take place before its formal approval.

Activities expected to be performed by the successful applicant, but not limited to, are:

  • To support the implementation of research related activities that do not necessarily require in-person presence, e.g.
    • computational or modelling activities
    • data analysis of the Action for a specific report or activity.
  • Virtual mentoring scheme, with special focus on activities and exchanges that can generate capacity building and new skills, particularly for ECIs researchers (e.g. managerial skills, methodological skills, communication skills, etc).
  • Content preparation and coordination of science communication activities, e.g.
    • Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC).
    • Online workshops like 'webinar series' or 'tv series'-like format.
    • Online COST Action workshops in external international conferences or events, when the applicant can demonstrate a role in the organising committee, that could help in the promotion of the Action activities
  • To support the harmonisation and standardisation of methods and procedures within the Action networking activities, e.g.
    • setting up a survey amongst all Action members to collect different results and outcomes from experiments done in their respective labs and research groups.
    • coordinating the discussions to create common protocols to be used by the network afterwards.
    • preparing questionnaires and response scales to be used by the Action members as part of virtual networking activities.
Please contact the Virtual Networking Support (VNS) Manager Lola Balaguer-Núñez, if you have questions (see contact us).

VM Grants Rules and Procedures

A maximum of 6 Virtual Mobility Grants per Action per Grant Period can be awarded. Each Virtual Mobility Grant cannot exceed €1,500.

The applicant(s) shall inform the MC about the aim of the VM Grant and submit a report at the end, to be approved by the VNS manager on behalf of the VM Grants Panel. The successful applicant(s) shall implement the work plan approved in their application and always within one single Grant Period. For this grant period, the deadline for all the activities granted should be 15 October 2021.

The application shall be submitted in e-COST and include the following information:

  • Main objective of the Virtual Mobility Grant.
  • Working Plan: Description of the collaborative initiative to be implemented within one single Grant Period.
  • Plan for Participation: List of participants in the collaborative initiative (short description of their expertise and contribution).
  • Main expected outputs: results and contribution to the progress towards the MW-Gaia MoU objectives (either research coordination and/or capacity building objectives can be tackled) and delivery of the MoU objectives.
  • Contribution to the COST Action Strategy: How will the Virtual Mobility contribute to the COST Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy and plans for stakeholder engagement and promoting participation of researchers from NNC and IPC (COST Global Networking).
For more details regarding the VM Grants regulations please see the COST Vademecum Section 10.2. at


Applicant(s) are Action participants with a primary affiliation to an institution located in a COST Full or Cooperating Member country or MC Observers from a COST Near Neighbour Country.

Please check your eligibility in Section 10.2.1 of the COST Vademecum at

Application Procedure

After verifying your eligibility, apply by following this two stage application procedure:

  • If you do not already have an e-COST account, you will need to create one ( before you can complete the online application. Creating an account is a one-off process.
  • Then, fill in the initial online application form. On the left side menu of your e-COST account you will find “COST Actions”, and then “VNT Applications” tab. To encode a new application, click on ‘Apply for grant’. The page “Apply for a new Grant” contains the following sections, all mandatory to be filled:
    • Applicant name: pre-filled and non-editable
    • Applicant primary affiliation: pre-filled and non-editable
    • Type: select Virtual Mobility (VM) grant
    • COST Action: select CA18104: Revealing the Milky Way with Gaia
    • Grant Period: selection of applicable Grant Period associated to the selected Action
    • Title: title of the VM grant application
    • Amount: requested financial contribution (up to 1500€)
    • Bank account: selection among bank accounts encoded in the e-COST user profile
After encoding the VM application form by filling all above-mentioned sections, the applicant also needs to upload the actual VM grant application by uploading it as a supporting document:
After adding the supporting document(s), the applicant can submit the grant application.
  • You will receive an acknowledgement of submission receipt from COST.
  • The application status will change from draft to submitted. Prior to approval of the application, if need be, you will be able to revise the application.

  • Note that for this year 2020/2021 the grant period has been extended through to 31 October 2021, hence for this year only, the VM grant activity can be completed by mid Oct 2021.

Evaluation and Grant Procedure

As soon as the VM application is submitted, the Action Virtual Networking Support (VNS) manager (Lola Balaguer-Núñez) is notified. The applicant and Action Chair and Vice Chair also receive a copy of the notification.

  1. The VNS manager organises the review of the application. The VM Grant Panel assesses the proposal (see Evaluation Criteria below), potentially seeking expert impartial advice if necessary. Concise feedback will be included in the e-notification to unsuccessful applicants.
The following summary information about VM applications will be made available to all or some of the Action MC, participants, and the public:
  • List of approved applications will be available on the Action website
  • One master database maintained by the VNS manager including evaluation scores and title, accessible to the MC members on a password-protected page.
  • Application statistics will be discussed at the MC meetings and provided to the Action participants
  • Applicants can opt to request for an embargo on the information included in their application. The request must come with a justification.
  1. Upon approval by the Panel, the VM application status will change from submitted to pre-approved. As soon as the VNS manager approve the VM application, the GH manager is notified and can send the Grant Letter notification. The Action Chair and Vice Chair also receive a copy of the e-notification.
  2. After the VM granted activity has taken place, the applicant needs to submit a report within 30 days.
  3. The Grant Holder shall pay the approved grant to the grantee after the MC has approved the grantee’s report and no later than 15 days from the end of Grant Period.
The COST Association and the Grant Holder of the Action cannot be considered as being the grantee’s employer who shall make their own arrangements for all provisions related to personal security, health, taxation, social security, and pension matters. The grantee must also ensure they have the required technical material/equipment and infrastructure to carry out the activities proposed in their application to the grant.

Applications can be submitted at any time, and for this grant period will be reviewed when received.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Quality of the proposal (e.g. proposed outcome), with a weight of 0.4
  2. Feasibility of the proposed project (e.g., suitable grantee), with a weight of 0.4
  3. Matching the objectives and deliverables of the Action (e.g. inclusiveness), with a weight of 0.2
The following scores will be given for each of the 3 criteria above: 1 –Not competitive, 2 -Good, 3 –Excellent, 4 –Outstanding

The final score will be the weighted sum of the three individual scores. The VM Grants Panel shall define the exact amount of each grant reflecting the scope and complexity of the task and activities. The grant does not necessarily cover all expenses related to undertaking the Virtual Mobility activity.
The Panel makes its decision within two weeks after the closure of the call.

The evaluators may consider the following aspects to establish the scores:
  • Does the proposal align with the objectives of the Action?
  • Does the applicant have the competence to make the mission successful in the timeframe planned?
  • Is the mission inclusive (ICTs/ECIs) and is gender balance promoted?
The evaluation of each received VM grant application is performed by the VM Grant Panel, coordinated by the VNS Manager. The selection of successful grantee shall be based on contributions to the overall objectives of the Action, the approved strategy on the virtual networking for the Action and the implementation of the COST Excellence and Inclusiveness Policy.

Reporting Rules and Reimbursement

The grantee has 30 calendar days from the completion of the Virtual Mobility Grant to upload a report in e-COST. The template of the report can be found at

  • Description of the outcomes and achieved outputs (including any specific MoU deliverables, or publications resulting from the Virtual Mobility).
  • Description of the benefits to the COST Action Strategy (what and how).
  • Description of the virtual collaboration (including constructive reflection on activities undertaken, identified successful practices and lessons learned).
The report shall consider only virtual activities carried out in their entirety within a single Grant Period.
The failure to submit the report within 30 days will effectively cancel the grant.
If the VNS manager approves the report, the Virtual Networking Tool (VNT) application status changes to Report Approved and the Grant Holder is notified that the grant can be paid. The applicant, Action Chair and Vice Chair receive a copy of the e-notification.
Please note that the reimbursement for the grantees will be carried out after the activity is over and after the final report is submitted by the grantee.

Financial Rules

Maximum of 6 VM Grants (maximum EUR 1,500 each, for a total of EUR 9,000) per Grant Period.

See the COST Vademecum Section 10.2.4

Page last updated: NAW: 20210815

Next Deadline

Key Dates

  • Deadline for submissions: Open call.
  • Feedback to Applicants: typically within two weeks of application submission.
  • VM grant activity must have completed by mid October 2021

VM Grants Previous Calls

VM Grants Panel

  • VM Grant Chair: Lola Balaguer-Núñez (University of Barcelona)
  • Corinne Charbonnel (University of Geneva)
  • Karri Muinonen (University of Helsinki)
  • Ivanka Stateva (Institute of Astronomy, Sofia)

  • COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.
  • Funded by the European Union

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