Thursday, November 10, 2011


I have started to apply for research funding, partly spurred on by the negative reaction by some people to the lectures I've been doing recently.
Funding applications take hours to fill in; the other weekend I spent two days doing one, and I've been sorting out a different one this week, bouncing it over the various approval hurdles at work, emails here, there and everywhere, PDFs, Word files, Excel spreadsheets....
Deadline yesterday.
Finally, it was ready to submit after a last-minute iPhone email conversation or three during my lunch break with a very patient research person at work, from the corner of a muddy field which was the only place I could get a signal.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
Then I got an email.
Disaster! I was locked out of my account!
The patient research person called me at home to tell me the bad news; she suggested I set up a new account, fill the whole thing in again, and try re-sending it.
I plodded and plodded through the evening re-creating it, set up the new account and pressed 'submit'.
But would it get to them?
This morning, I called the funding people; a very nice chap said he was sorry, but his computer wasn't working. Could I call back later? Well, I had a three-hour seminar with a short break, so I thought I could.
Then there was a fire alarm, and the entire University turned itself inside-out. We trooped down the stairs and huddled by the side of the building while a man with a megaphone instructed us in barking tones to stand back and get off the road. We milled about in the chilly car park and waited to see if it was a false alarm or not.
Luckily I had evacuated the scrap of paper with the chap's phone number on it, and I called him from an island of quiet in the crowds.
Yessss! The application had got through to him!
Frankly, I almost don't care whether they give me the money or not; the sheer effort of getting the thing to its destination feels like victory enough.

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