Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM)

What is a Short-Term Scientific Mission (STSM)?

  • The aim is to promote exchange (mobility) within an Action’s scientific objectives.
  • A STSM allows a scientist (specially early career investigators – ECIs) to visit a lab in another country of the COST Action to learn new techniques, gain access to specific data, instruments or make measurements using instruments and/or methods not available in their own institutions/organizations.
  • Period: min. 5 working days and max. 3 months. For ECIs up to 6 months
  • max. contribution for a mission of 3 months is 2500 Euros or up to 6 months and 3500 Euros for ECIs


Who can apply?

  • PhD-students, Early Career Researchers (researcher whose career spun less than 8 years between the date of the PhD/doctorate (or similar experience) and the date of involvement in the COST Action)
  • Researchers with their lab in one of the current member states of this COST Action
  • Researchers with a proposal related to the topic of this COST Action

How do I apply?

  • Calls with all the relevant information will be issued on a regular basis and will be published on the Action´s website
  • Submit application form and required documentation including before the closing date of the call

For further information on STSMs contact the EUAlgae STSM Coordinator Dr Dominik Refardt.



Approved applications for STSMs

You can see the approved applications for STSMs here. Click on each title to display the STSM.

Wastewater treatment and biogas production: a comparison of green algae and diatoms

Grantee: Jelena Godrijan, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia

Host: Cristina González, Instituto IMDEA Energía, Madrid, Spain

Duration: 18 January 2017 – 19 April 2017


The purpose of my short term scientific mission in Instituto IMDEA Energía was to compare the green algae wastewater growth and biogas production with diatoms. Chlorella vulgaris and Scenedesmus obliqus were chosen as representatives of green algae, and Nitzschia palea for diatoms. Algae were grown in 20, 50, 70 and 100 % of wastewater content. Nitzschia palea was successfully grown in wastewater, and highest yields of biomass were observed for 100 % wastewater content. For the assessment of biogas production biomethane potential tests (pictured) were performed, and the freshwater diatom Nitzschia palea was able to produce a very high methane yield. During my stay at Instituto IMDEA Energía I learned many methods applicable to my future work and the whole research team of the laboratory and institute were very helpful and very friendly.

Microalgae in savoury food bioproducts: evaluation of in vitro digestibility and antioxidant activity

Grantee: Ana Paula dos Santos Batista (ECI) – University of Lisbon (Portugal)

Host: Professor Mario Tredici, University of Florence – DISPAA. ITALY.

EUALGAE WG Members involved: Dr. Alberto Niccolai

Duration: 6 March 2017 – 14 April 2017


Salted cookies (“crackers”) with incorporation of microalgae biomass were developed at the University of Lisbon (ULisboa, Portugal) using microalgae strains from the Algae Bank of Fotosintetica & Microbiologica s.r.l. (Italy), namely Arthrospira platensis F&M-C256, Tetraselmis suecica F&M-M33 and Phaeodactylum tricornutum F&M-M40. During Ana Paula Batista six week STSM in the University of Florence the crackers were analysed in terms of in vitro digestibility (IVD) through an enzymatic methodology optimized by Alberto Niccolai from Professor Mario Tredici group. Microalgae crackers showed high IVD, with values ranging from 82-86%, within the range of commercial crackers (78-93%). The in vitro antioxidant activity of the microalgae crackers samples was also analysed through DPPH radical scavenging activity (RSA) and total phenolic assays, showing significantly higher values than the control (up to +270% RSA for A. platensis and P. tricornutum 6% crackers)

Optimising micro-algal protein extraction and characterisation of bioactivities and techno-functional attributes

Grantee: Ana Lorenzo, Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain

Host: Maria Hayes, Teagasc – Food Research Center, Dublin, Ireland

Duration9 January 2017 – 7 April 2017


In my STSM, microalgae were used for potential protein ingredient production. Four different microalgae species, selected based on their industrial relevance (Scenedesmus almeriensis, Nannochloropsis gaditana, Spirulina platensis, Isochrysis T-iso), were used as source materials for protein and value-added ingredient generation. Infrastructure and equipment available at Teagasc were applied to these microalgae strains to optimize protein yield recovery from this biomass. In addition, the functional and health attributes of the protein extracts and concentrates developed in this work were assessed for their potential functional food applications using in vitro bioassays. I really appreciated the possibility of working there for three months and totally recommend the experience. My time there was really satisfying and rewarding, in both personal and academic aspects.

Life cycle assessment of algal-bacterial photobioreactors for biogas upgrading

GranteeAna Ferreira, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Host: Raul Muñoz, Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, University of Valladolid, Mergelina s/n, Valladolid, Spain.

Duration16 April 2017 – 30 April 2017


The purpose of my short-term scientific mission (STSM) at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology in University of Valladolid was to evaluate the resource´s viability, taking into account a sustainability study concerning energy and environmental indicators of the algal-bacterial photobioreactors for biogas upgrading. The study included the creation of an inventory (inputs and outputs) of all processes involved in wastewater treatment by microalgae and biomethane production; direct measurements of the equipment, the analysis of energy and CO2 emissions for microalgae and respective conversion technology (life cycle methodology), the and analysis of environmental impacts.

This STSM allowed me to learn about the new technologies for biogas upgrading using microalgae, to work in the research group that is a reference in the development of cost-effective technologies for the treatment of industrial and domestic wastewaters, both aerobically and anaerobically and also design and operate pilot and field scale bioreactors for several environmental purposes. This experience enriched my experience and expertise in my research area. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to contribute and collaborate with this group.

Suitability of Microalgae to Biodiesel Production

GranteeMs Vânia Pôjo, Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Host: Faculty of Biology-CIBUS, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Duration6 March 2017 – 20 April 2017


With the work developed within COST Action ES1408, it was possible to learn techniques of marine microalgae cultivation, maintenance of the strains and biochemical analyzes. On the picture, you can see seven different strains of Tetraselmis sp., with which the STSM grantee worked at the University of Santiago de Compostela.

Dinoflagellates for sustained supply of active compounds in optimized photobioreactors

Grantee: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal

Host: University of Almería, Almeria, Spain

Duration: 5 February 2017 – 19 February 2017


The STSM carried out in the University of Almeria encompassed the manipulation and culturing of dinoflagellates Karlodinium veneficum in T-flasks. It was trained the preparation of media and inoculums, including the maintenance of the different conditions of the dinoflagellates culturing. A study was performed on growth kinetics and biomass production during 10 days, where the cell concentration was daily accessed. It was also carried out the spectrophotometric analysis of the nutrient concentration (such as phosphates and nitrates) in the Karlodinium cultures. The detention of biotoxins, produced by dinoflagellates (by Amphidinium carterae from a previous culture processing) was also accessed in terms of hemolytic activity. 

Optimization of Tetraselmis species growth, productivity and harvest

Grantee: Dr Mariana Carneiro, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal

Host: Faculty of Biology-CIBUS, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de
Compostela, Spain

Duration: 23 January 2017 – 4 March 2017


Tetraselmis spp. was grown in a laboratory photobioreactor in cyclostat to study some of the factors that influence the quantitative production of microalgal components, with focus on lipids. A characterization of Tetraselmis spp. strains to evaluate the cell’s growth, chlorophyll and lipid content. After this first characterization of Tetraselmis spp. and when microalgae were near the end of the log phase, we employed two different renewal rates of the culture with fresh medium daily. The results obtained revealed a fast growth of Tetraselmis spp.. Chlorophyll a content revealed strain-specific changes with the both renewal rates. Lipid evaluation also revealed a strain-specific quantitative increase of lipid content/cell when renewal rates were applied.

Supercritical CO2 extraction of hydrocarbons from B. braunii with an emphasis on cell viability

Grantee: Ece Yildiz Ozturk, Bioengineering Department, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey

Host: Dr. Dorinde Kleinegris, Departament of Bioprocess Engineering, WU Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB Wageningen

Duration: 1 March 2016 – 30 March 2016

Experience: I was very delighted to find the opportunity to spend one month working on the high pressure hastelloy vessel system at Food & Biobased Research in Wageningen UR. This gave me a chance to deepen my knowledge related to down-stream processes in the inspiring, creative environment of one of the largest Netherland universities. COST Action ES1408 programme was a great opportunity to enrich my future studies and contribute to my academic development. Within the scope of the STSM, supercritical CO2 extractions of hydrocarbons from lyophilized and fresh biomass of Botryococcus braunii by using a Hastelloy vessel were carried out. The hastelloy vessel is capable of supercritical CO2 extraction of both fresh algal broth and lyophilized biomass. This specification is additional to the equipment that has been used for the SC-CO2 extraction of hydrocarbons out of algae in Turkey. Besides, quantitative detection of hydrocarbons in algae extracts was executed by gas chromatograph. Supercritical CO2 extraction conditions that enable maximum hydrocarbon recovery were determined. In addition, the effect of high pressure on cell viability was investigated by methylene blue analysis and via microscopic images. Also, reusability of algal culture after extraction was investigated in modified CHU 13 liquid media under climate room conditions.


Grantee: Ana-Maria GALAN, Department of Bioresources, The National Institute for Research and Development in Chemistry and Petrochemistry – ICECHIM, Bucharest.

Host: Raul MUNOZ, Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, University of Valladolid, Mergelina s/n, Valladolid, Spain.

Duration: 29 February 2016 – 13 March 2016

Experience: The purpose of my STSM at University of Valladolid was the application of a microalgal-bacterial process for  biogas upgrading. For this purpose, I studied here the operation mode of two systems: 1. A system with an open  photobioreactor – a pilot high rate algal pond (HRAP) – with a volume of 180L, connected with an external absorption column with a volume of 2.2 L. This system was used for the removal of CO2 and H2S from biogas, and for the treatment of a diluted wastewater centrate.  2. The second system studied here is a system with a closed photobioreactor with a volume of 110L connected to an external absorption column with a capacity of 2 L. This system was used for the removal of the CO2 and H2S from raw biogas.  For  both systems a synthetic mixture of  29.5 % CO2, 0.5 % H2S and 70% CH4 was used as raw  biogas. To evaluate the performance of both systems, the following parameters were monitored: the composition of the raw biogas and upgraded biogas, the TOC, IC, TN, NH4+, NO2−, NO3 −, P, and TSS in the influent and in the culture broth. The temperature, pH, and DO in the cultivation broth and the flow rate of the influent, of the raw biogas and upgraded biogas were also measured.

This STSM allowed me to learn how to operate and how to monitor a system for biogas upgrading. Here, I learned techniques that could be applied in our laboratories in Bucharest.


Application of milking process in the Botryococcus braunii production

Grantee: Judit Martín, Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, University of Valladolid, Mergelina s/n, Valladolid, Spain

Host: María Barbosa, Departament of Bioprocess Engineering, WU Agrotechnology and Food Sciences, Droevendaalsesteeg 4, 6708 PB Wageningen

Duration: 12 January 2016 – 10 April 2016

Experience: The purpose of my short-term scientific mission (STSM) in Wageningen University was the application of milking process in theBotryococcus braunii production. It was a great challenge where the extraction of EPS (exo-polysaccharides) from algae was carried out at the same time of the production of microalgae biomass through a microfiltration, as a first step. It was necessary to check the cell viability during this process and, of course, to optimise the operational conditions such as the number of milking cycles. We had to take into account during this optimization: the high product recovery and the microalgae production. That allowed me to learn new techniques, focussed on the extraction, that could be possible apply in other type of microalgae and process. 

Use of metabolic modeling for terpenoid production enhancement

Grantee: Konstantinos Vavitsas, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorlvadsensvej 40, Frederiksberg C, Denmark

Host: Steinn Gudmundsson, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science; the Center for Systems Biology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Duration: 30th September 2015 – 9th October 2015 (11 days)

Experience: The purpose of my short-term scientific mission (STSM) to Steinn Guðmundsson’s laboratory (University of Iceland) was to train in the use of the constraint-based reconstruction and analysis (COBRA) approach to predict network properties using existing genome-scale metabolic models as well as to extend such models, e.g. to include heterologous pathways. In simpler words, I learned how to use linear programming to computationally study the metabolism of Synechocystis—a cyanobacterium used in biotechnological applications—as a whole. That allowed me to predict metabolic perturbations when inserting a heterologous pathway and find the metabolic bottlenecks that need to be addressed experimentally in order to increase terpenoid production from cyanobacteria in general.