Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) support visits to Helmholtz centres, institutes, universities and laboratories to:

1) foster collaborations,
2) learn innovative techniques,
3) acquire new datasets, and
4) use specific methods/instruments.

Who can apply?

All researchers interested in getting engaged on topics related to Digital Earth can apply for a STSM. Applicants can come:

  • from inside Digital Earth for visiting another Helmholtz centre,
  • from inside Digital Earth to invite an external colleague for visiting at least one Earth & Environment centre, and
  • from inside Digital Earth for visiting centres outside the Helmholtz Association (national/international).

What is funded?

STSMs should have a minimum duration of three working days and a maximum duration of two weeks. The 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.

However, the calculation of the financial contribution for each STSM must respect the following criteria:

  • Up to a maximum of EUR 2 500 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.

In general requirements and rules are as stated in the “Bundesreisekostengesetz BRKG

How to apply?

The application will be evaluated based on the scope of the submitted STSM that must be clearly linked to one or more of the Digital Earth objectives. The application should be written as a short scientific/technical proposal considering the following:

  1. Aim of the cooperation and direct link to Digital Earth activities,
  2. Specific scientific/technological questions and goals to be addressed,
  3. Short description of the respective state of research/technology,
  4. Envisioned output and benefit for the individual and Digital Earth,
  5. Short budget plan.

The proposal text (maximum of 3 pages excl. budget plan) should be accompanied by the following supporting documents:

  • Short invitation letter from the host institution,
  • Short letter of support from the home institution,
  • Short work plan,
  • CV that highlights the qualification or need for education with respect to the proposed scientific project.

The application template form is available here. Applications have to be send to Dr. Daniela Henkel (dhenkel(at) Applications submitted will be reviewed within one month by the Digital Earth STSM Steering Group. The latter will perform a scientific and budgetary assessment of the applications considering the Digital Earth objectives and define an acceptable funding level.

Submission of the Final Report

The grantee must submit a report of the STSM to Dr. Daniela Henkel (dhenkel(at) within 30 days after the end date of the STSM. Failure to submit the report will result in cancellation of the grant.

The report should contain:

  1. Short (half page) summary of the report,
  2. Description of the work carried out during the STSM,
  3. Description of the main results obtained in light of the objectives of the Digital Earth action,
  4. Future collaboration with the host institution (if applicable),
  5. Foreseen publications/software tools resulting from the STSM (if applicable),
  6. Confirmation by the host institution of the successful execution of the STSM.

The length of the report should not exceed 5 pages. The summary of the report will be posted on the Digital Earth web page once the report is approved by the coordinator of the STSM and Digital Earth Steering Group. A report template form is available here.


In case of any further questions on Digital Earth please contact Dr. Daniela Henkel  (dhenkel(at)

Potential topics

In case you'd like to host an STSM and propose a topic, please send a brief notice to dhenkel(at) or other members of the STSM Steering Group and the preferred start date of the STSM.