A mission is a trip to a location outside Trieste for scientific purposes (e.g. conferences, workshops, courses, summer schools, testing participants in other cities, etc). SISSA usually provides students with funds for missions, though they can be limited to the grant you have. To read the regulations regarding missions you can visit this page. To request a reimbursement for a mission visit this page. Below you can find information on the reimbursement process, what expenses can be reimbursed, and FAQs.
At the beginning of the solar year, funds for the missions of PhD students are allotted. As an informal rule, they are at least 500 EUR for each student enrolled. These are the funding you choose to use when, opening the mission, you select fondi del gruppo di Ricerca, and then pick your own PhD course. The authorization is then granted by the Area Secretariat (checking the availability of funding) and by your PhD course coordinator (approving the scope of the mission and the use of group funding)
There are three important remarks, though:
- The funding is not supplied to the single student, but to all the students of a particular PhD course: that means that one students may get more than the single quota, and other later applicants may suffer shortage of funding and only partial reimbursement.
- The funding is distributed in two tranches, the latter usually in June-July. This means that there may be shortage of funding in late Spring, and funding available in Summer.
- Part of the group funding can be spent only for missions to institutions with which SISSA has an international agreement.
Moral of the story: while planning a mission and before opening it or booking anything, check with your Area Secretariat the funding available.
Another source of funding for missions are your supervisor grants, if he/she has money available and agrees to pay for your mission. The authorization is then granted by the Area Secretariat (that checks the red tape) and the responsible of the grant.
If you are a student in the final year of your PhD, since 2015 there are additional funding, up to 1000 EUR, that can be spent for missions to place with which an International Research agreement with SISSA exists. More details can be found on the dedicated page of this wiki.
Finally, there are several scientific institution to which, according to your research Area and field, you can be enrolled. For instance, physicists usually become members of INFN and mathematicians of INdAM. After the affiliation, you can usually apply for missions grants; in this latest case, you must in any case fill the SISSA mission form, but for the reimbursement you will follow the rules of the institution providing you with the funding. For more details about this, please refer to your PhD course representatives or coordinators.
How to get a reimbursement
The reimbursement procedure is now completely online. Go to this website to open new missions, track the progress of your missions, and close missions. This page can also be reached from the SISSA homepage by clicking "Web Services" in the upper bar, then "Missions: Online Forms."
OPENING A MISSION
The first step in the reimbursement procedure is to let SISSA know of your intention of going on a mission. You need to do this at least 7 days before you leave for the mission (2 days before only in the case of conducting experiments with human participants). Go to this website, login using your SISSA credentials and then click "open mission." This will bring you to a form to fill out about your upcoming mission. You will need to provide information about where you are going (including a conference website, if applicable), when you will go, how you will go (e.g., train, plane, bus), and how much it will cost. You can also ask for an advance payment of 75% of the estimated expenses on this form. Note though that advance payments have the same delay as reimbursements, so unless you are asking far in advance you may not receive the advance payment before your mission. Once you have completed the form click "Invia," your completed form will reappear asking you to review the data, do this and then click "Conferma." If you do not click "Conferma" your mission request has not been sent. Immediately after you will receive an e-mail acknowledging the receipt of your request. At this point you have finished opening your mission. If you have any questions while opening a mission you can ask your area secretariat for assistance.
Before you receive approval for your mission, your request must be authorized by the head of the funds you are using, the Area Coordinator, and SISSA's finance office. You can check the progress of your mission by clicking on "Archive." In the archive all of your missions are listed along with their status. You can also click the pdf to get more details. However, you don't need to check the website, because when a final decision has been made on your mission request you will receive an e-mail.
CLOSING A MISSION
After you have returned from your mission you need to close your mission to get the reimbursement. You have 60 days from the end of your mission to close it (you'll get a reminder near the end of the 60 days if you haven't yet closed it). To close a mission login to the website and click "Close Mission." On this form you will need to fill in the actual details of your mission: when you left and returned, your means of transportation, and your expenses. For each expense you need to include the date, the type of expense, a description, and the amount (in whatever currency you originally paid). After you have entered all of your expenses and completed the remaining questions click "Invia." You completed form will reappear asking you to review the data, do this and then click "Conferma." If you do not click "Conferma" your mission has not been closed. You will then receive an e-mail containing a pdf with reimbursement request. You need to print the pdf and sign it on the last page. You also need to compile receipts for all the expenses you listed. Attach small receipts neatly to a piece of A4 paper and number each receipt according to the documentation table. Finally, you need to include proof of attendance. This can be a certificate from the conference or school, or a letter indicating your presence signed by the appropriate figure. Staple together the signed reimbursement request, the receipts, and the proof of attendance and turn this packet in to your Area secretariat. At this point you have finished closing your mission. Note: it's a good idea to make a copy of any original receipts you are turning in.
After you've turned in your reimbursement request it usually takes about 2 months to get the reimbursement, which will be deposited into your bank account like your monthly stipend. You can track the progress of this as well in the mission archive (it will go from "chiusa" to "in liquidazione").
What can be reimbursed
Remember, nothing can be reimbursed without documentation. So keep all your receipts, invoices, and boarding passes during the trip
- Travel expenses:
- This includes trains (2nd class, double compartment), airplanes (economy class), ships, urban and extra-urban buses, trams, undergrounds, and funiculars. The use of taxis, your own vehicle, a hired car, or airport shuttle service (e.g., “Science Bus”) can be used only with previous authorization, or due to emergencies (strikes, health problems, bad weather, etc.). In all cases you will need to hand in the original ticket, boarding pass, and/or receipt.
- Accommodation expenses:
- Accommodation up to € 150 a night can be reimbursed. Expenses for telephone calls, laundry and bar bills, etc., even if included in the invoice, will not be reimbursed. If you are sharing the accommodation with someone else, ask for a separate invoice.
- Meals, snacks, food, and beverages can be reimbursed up to €44 a day (reduced by 50% for missions 4-8 hours in length) if the mission is in Italy. For trips abroad the daily threshold depends on the particular destination, according to the table B of the MAE decree. All receipts need to have the name of the bar/restaurant/supermarket on them. Receipts also need to be individual, if you are dining with others be sure to ask for separate receipts.
- Other reimbursable expenses:
- Travel agency fees, Visa expenses (present a photocopy of the visa), Enrollment fees (with invoice), vaccinations (when required), health insurance, and travel cancellation insurance
- If you have any questions about what can and cannot be reimbursed you can refer to the documents here or ask your Area Secretariat before your mission.
- Are the days spent traveling considered as part of the duration of the mission?
- Yes, the duration is counted from when you leave to when you return. Days are counted as calendar days, not periods of 24 hours.
- If I plan to stay longer in the place of the mission than required to attend the conference/do the work, what should I do?
- You need to indicate this intention when you open your mission. Meals and accommodation will only be reimbursed from the day before the conference/school starts to the day after it ends.
- If the mission is carried out in my own town of residence, do I get reimbursed?
- You will be reimbursed for travel expenses and enrollment, but not for accommodation or meals.
- I asked for an advance payment but I couldn't carry out the mission, what should I do?
- You need to return the money within 15 days of the date on which you would have begun the mission. If SISSA does not receive the money, the money will be deducted from your regular monthly payment.
- I lost my air ticket (non-electronic), or someone stole it, what can I do?
- The cost of the ticket will be reimbursed on presentation of the report of the loss to the police.
- I lost my boarding passes, what should I do?
- A self-declaration to this effect will be accepted.
- I opened a mission, but now I won't go, do I need to do something?
- It's best that you do let the finance office know so that the money can be released for another mission. If your mission has not yet been approved, this is very simple. On the missions website, go to "Archive," find the mission in question, and cancel it. If your mission has been approved, close the mission stating that you did not complete it and asking for no reimbursement. If you received an advance payment, you will need to return the funds within 15 days of the intended start of the mission.