MARGISTAR Launches Third Call for Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) Conference Grant Applications


MARGISTAR is launching its third call for Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) Conference Grants for conferences occurring between May 1, 2024 until September 30, 2024. All applications must be made before the deadline on March 17, and all activities must occur before September 30, 2024.

Up to €1,500 for Face-to-Face Conferences: the Aim of MARGISTAR ITC Grants

ITC Conference Grants (ITC CGs) allow Young Researchers and Innovators (under the age of 40), affiliated with a legal entity in an Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC) or Near Neighbour Country (NNC), to receive support for attending and presenting their work at an international well-recognised conference. 

Countries and Near Neighbour Countries are thus supported in establishing a strong network and increasing their visibility in the research community by sharing their work and gaining knowledge. They can also contribute to increasing the visibility of the MARGISTAR COST Action.

The objective of CA21125 MARGISTAR is to foster transformation strategies and innovation processes toward the revitalisation of these areas and the co-creation of alternative and effective pathways to sustainability. ITC CG applications should deal with topics relevant to the MARGISTAR Cost Action. These relate to the sustainability of mountainous areas (e.g., natural, environmental, social, and economic inter-relationships and interactions in mountainous areas, and environmental, social, economic, and political challenges of mountains), and in particular with periphery traps, visions of post-marginalised futures, and transformation pathways in, of and for mountain areas.

Open Call Deadlines 

The deadline for applying to this second call is 17 March, 2024. This call is for conferences occurring no later than 30 September, 2024, and all ITC CGs activities must occur before that date.

No later than 15 and 30 days after the conference respectively, the grantee must submit travel documentation and a report. The grant payment is made after the report has been approved by the MC Chair. The application, attendance at the conference, submission of the report, approval of the report, and payment of the grant must start and end during the same Grant Period (ends 30 September, 2024).

Please note that the evaluation process of submitted applications takes some time and the applicant cannot start their mobility period before having received the evaluation outcomes and Grant Letter. 

ITC Conference Grants contribute to travel, accommodation, subsistence expenses, registration fees, printing of scientific posters, and overall effort. Up to €1,500 are available per grant for face-to-face conferences and €500 for virtual conferences. For this second call, MARGISTAR’s Management Committee has allocated a budget of €14,000 for ITC Conference Grants.

Eligibility and the Application Process

The ITCs are intended for Young Researchers and Innovators under the age of 40 affiliated with a legal entity based in:

  • A COST Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC)
  • A Near Neighbour Country (NNC)

ITCs include Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Serbia, Türkiye, and Ukraine. NNCs include Algeria, Azerbaijan, [Belarus], Egypt, the Faroe Islands, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, [Russia], Syria, and Tunisia. Please consult the COST Country and Organisation Table for a complete list of countries belonging to these categories.

The application submitted using the e-COST platform. Multiple applications for several Actions by the same person to attend the same conference are not allowed and may lead to the cancellation of the grant.

The Applicant must log in to e-COST, click on the Grant Applications tab, and on “Apply for a grant.” Then, the applicant must select ‘ITC Conference Grant’ and complete all the sections of the application form. The application form requires the following details: title of the presentation; conference title; date (within the active Grant Period, i.e., an overlap across two consecutive Grant Periods) and country; attendance type (face-to-face or virtual), and amount requested for the ITC Grant. 

After filling the form, the applicant also needs to upload the following documents:

  • The ITC Conference Grant application (using the  COST template, to be previously downloaded here). 
  • A copy of the abstract of the accepted oral or poster presentation.  
  • An acceptance letter from the conference organisers.  
  • A cover letter explaining how the application matches the criteria of this call. The cover letter should include a clear statement explaining whether the applicant is benefiting from other funds to participate in the conference in question.
  • A short CV in the Europass format
  • A breakdown of the estimated costs of the conference

The following documents must also be e-mailed to the MARGISTAR Core Group at [email protected]:  

  • The document generated by e-COST,
  • A CV, including a list of academic publications if applicable,
  • The conference acceptance letter (confirming either your speaking slot or your poster presentation),
  • A copy of the abstract or poster submitted to the conference.

The Evaluation Process

After the deadline, all the applications will be assessed by the MARGISTAR Grant Awarding Coordinators and the MARGISTAR Core Group. 

ITC CGs applications will be collated by Grant Awarding Coordinators, shared with the MARGISTAR Core Group, and evaluated. The Core Group will evaluate the applications within approximately 2 weeks after the deadline and submit their evaluation to the MC, which will make the final awarding decision. This may be less than the requested amount.

The MARGISTAR Core Group, when acting as the grants assessment team, will evaluate applications according to budget, possible contribution that the proposed conference participation will make against MARGISTAR’s scientific objectives, and the candidate’s career according to the following criteria:

  1. Contribution to the MARGISTAR COST Action objectives and deliverables: In particular, the assessment will consider the relevance of the proposed presentation for the MARGISTAR Action Objectives, the contribution to the scientific advancement of the proposal based on the abstract and application form submitted, and the publication and/or outcome potential of the research carried out. The exhaustiveness of the explanation provided of how it will support MARGISTAR in achieving its scientific objectives will be highly considered in the evaluation. Priority will be given to the members of the CA 21125 and with relevant research interests in the Action topic.
  1. Compliance of the conference topic with MARGISTAR: The proposed conference must align with topics related to the sustainability of mountainous areas (e.g., natural, environmental, social, and economic inter-relationships and interactions in mountainous areas, and environmental, social, economic, and political challenges of mountains), and in particular address periphery traps in mountain areas, visions of post-marginalised futures, or transformation pathways in, of and for mountain areas.
  1. Contribution to the career development of the applicant: The applicant should explicitly address in the cover letter the motivation for participating in the conference in terms of the new knowledge, expected grantee’s visibility, and contribution to their career development. The establishment of new contacts for future collaborations and impact on the applicant’s career will be highly positively considered in the evaluation.  
  1. Inclusiveness criteria: Applicants not benefitting of other funds (all types, directly or indirectly) will have priority. Gender balance, geographic coverage, and distribution among different WGs will also be considered. Previously successful applicants are not precluded from applying, but preference and priority will be given to applicants who have not been awarded an ITC grant before.
  1. Coherence of the proposal: This considers cost (the proposed budget), mobility (the duration and destination of the proposed travel), and impact of the presentation (oral presentations are favoured over poster presentations; presentations developed within the frame of a collaborative project within two (or more) different COST Member Countries will be preferred).

Once the evaluation process is complete, selected applicants will be notified via email by the Grant Awarding Coordinator. All applicants will receive a formal notification through e-cost informing them about the outcomes of the selection and whether their request was approved or not.  

Selected applicants receive a Grant Letter stating the approved amount and the conditions for receiving the grant. In no case should the Applicant start their mobility before having received the Grant Letter.

Grant Holder Requirements

At the Conference

The ITC CGs must take place as foreseen in the submitted Application. The grant holders must deliver the approved (oral or poster) presentation and follow any specific request of acknowledgment set by the Action MC. In all cases, the grantees must acknowledge COST and MARGISTAR in presentation/posters properly and must use the official logos and visual identity.

In addition, the grantees are expected to actively network with other participants, and promote the COST Action to the potential stakeholders.

If the conference dates are modified by the organisers, the grantee should get in touch with the Grant Awarding Coordinator and provide an updated Acceptance Letter certifying the change of the Conference Dates. The Action Grant Manager is informed and provides the Applicant with an updated Grant Letter.

After the Conference

Within 30 days from the end of the conference, the grantee must submit travel documentation, the report, and supporting documentation via the e-COST system in order to claim the grant. The grant is only paid after proof of the participation to the conference is submitted. Late submission will lead to the cancellation of the Grant. 

The grantee will receive an e-notification to submit the report and other supporting documents to e-COST. The grantee must submit the following documents to e-COST and the Grant Awarding Coordinator:

  • The complete report, using the COST template, which is available here.    
  • A scientific report on the outcomes of the grant holder’s conference participation that will be published as a blog post on the MARGISTAR website. The template will be provided by the ITC Grant coordinator. The use of the template is mandatory. 
  • A copy of the given presentation.
  • The conference programme or book of abstracts/proceedings indicating the grantee’s presentation.
  • A Certificate of Attendance to the conference.
  • Receipt of the conference fee paid.

Grant Payment

Payment is subject to the ITC scientific report being pre-approved on behalf of the Action’s MC by the delegated Grant Awarding Coordination team. The grant is payable up to 30 days after the grantee’s report and supporting documents have been approved by the Action Chair (or Vice-Chair). 

Please note that the COST Association and Action’s Grant holder can request additional information to substantiate the information contained within the documents submitted by ITC applicants.

For additional information about this call, please contact the MARGISTAR Core Group.

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About MARGISTAR & How To Join

The MARGISTAR forum reflects collaboratively on natural, environmental, social, and economic inter-relationships and interactions in mountainous areas, and identifies a range of environmental, social, economic, and political challenges. It enables innovation by co-designing pathways for the transformation of marginalised mountainous areas towards their green, digital and healthy futures.

To join MARGISTAR, read the instructions here and get in touch!

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