Earlier this year I learned that the result of my SSHRC doctoral award application was “recommended but not funded,” which essentially meant that my project was good enough to be funded but there was just no money left in the pot. You can read the original post here (I have also copied it below).
I woke this morning to an unexpected email with the subject heading “2014 – 2015 SSHRC Doctoral Award Offer” detailing my successful application being funded. It was and is great news.
I continue to hold my conviction that this does not mean my project or anyone else’s that receives funding is somehow better or more deserving because of it. To further illustrate this idea I’ve provided a handy visual non-sequitur.
Original Post 30 April 2014
This was the result of my most recent kick at the federal funding can. For those unfamiliar with the Canadian system of federal scholarships for doctoral work, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council is the major funding body for this type of academic research in Canada at the graduate and professorial levels. If you’d like a bit more about this process see my post on grant proposals. What exactly ‘recommended but not funded’ means is that my proposal was accepted and good enough to receive an award, but there was nothing left in the pot to actually consummate that marriage. I am lucky because I am in a position — thanks to my department and family — where my continued pursuit of a PhD does not hinge on SSHRC funding. It would be nice to hold a SSHRC scholarship because that opens more opportunities for funding things like overseas research. I would be remiss to mention that ‘recommended but not funded’ does not mean the same as ‘no.’ On the contrary, it means that there is still a chance of an award if another is declined for any reason.*
At any rate, this post is not a whinge or a sour grapes kind of thing. I have plenty of friends and colleagues who have received this funding and that’s an incredible thing. I know how hard it is to make it in the academic funding game and anyone who makes it should be applauded. I hear plenty of griping around funding season about projects that didn’t ‘deserve’ to be funded but were. That kind of crap doesn’t help anyone and is petty beyond belief. Does every funded project ‘deserve’ its funding? I don’t know. Someone thinks so. There’s a subjective element to funding decisions that is going to make it a necessarily flawed process but, hey, that’s the Humanities, folks (I’m sure this is the same for other disciplines too).
Congratulations to all those who were awarded grants this time around. To those who weren’t, it’s cool. If you’re doing a PhD, your success is not tied to your ability to receive SSHRC funding. You’re already doing a PhD and an entire department at a university somewhere has your back. That looks like success to me.
For those interested, I’m posting my successful SSHRC proposal below with the note that this was my fourth time applying. So, yeah, it’s harder than it looks.
*Since I don’t know how far down the list I am, I might be in a Prince Charles situation or I might be one of Liz’s numerous titled yet ultimately unimportant grandchildren.