Posted by: Neurobites | September 29, 2010

Thoughts on scholarship and grant applications

September evoked such exciting times as a child. After the long drone of the summer, school was starting, friendships were reignited, new teachers to annoy.. It was good times. After a couple of years of grant applications, September has begun to represent something rather unpleasant. Grant/Scholarship applications. Blagh. I love science. I mean come on, what’s not to love? The sheer romance of it, is beautiful. But these applications…. They are soul wrenching and personality crushing …

Hello Mr.Fraud Complex, nice of you to drop by.

Seems a bit melodramatic? Imagine trying to summarize what you have done last year in a paragraph. Or try to outline four years of potential work, including justifications and methodologies, in a couple of pages…

Cruel and unusual punishment.

All this, is not solely for the money. Oh no, the majority of the time you just want an acknowledgement from these people that what you are doing is worthwhile. It’s like getting a gold star in school… I used to rock the gold stars..

Writing grants is stress inducing not simply because it constitutes yet another due date to worry about and procrastinate over. No, the true stress of completing these applications is the self-reflection they evoke. When the aim of a grant or scholarship application is to evaluate both your achievements and potential in an objective and unsympathetic manner, you cannot help but feel judged. Indeed, these applications seem serve the dual purposes of making your past feel inadequate, and your future appear muddy and uncertain – at least in the darker moments.
I think that melodrama is in the air here at Neurobites. While both of our research directions are worthy and have plenty to offer science, it is difficult to maintain such a level of certainty when forced to enunciate them before a committee of esteemed peer reviewers. This sentiment, coupled with the hours of reading and writing in the most compact, succinct, and unambiguous scientific language possible has led to the florid prose you read here. But worry not, Neurobites will not remain a platform for the airing of our miseries, it will soon return to its role as a platform for sharing new and exciting neuroscience. We hope you are excited about the coming school year! (We are too, we promise)



  1. I used to get excited about school starting up again too, but I don’t remember gold stars except in junior high when we had merit cards, but a gold star sounds much more glamorous. I’m happy the scholarship applications are done for me, although I suppose there’s still time for the ones applying for CIHR.

  2. Oh yeah, one more thing. When I first read the post I saw Harry’s name at the bottom of it so assumed the whole thing was written by Harry. I thought the start sounded unusually non-Harry-like and much more Rim-like. I guess you can detect mannerism on the Internet too.

  3. Rim,
    I read your blog today as it was written in a language I understand! Keep it up!

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