YOUNG RESEARCHERS. Ten researchers attended a recent workshop organized by Future Faculty and the Grants and Innovation Office that offered participants a chance to sharpen their applications to the Swedish Research Council. One of the participants was epilepsy researcher Johan Zelano, who thinks the workshop was useful – and well executed.
During the workshop, lectures on the various parts of the application were interspersed with individual work, feedback from advisors and an accounting in the group, where all commented on each other’s applications and made suggestions for improvements.
The participants were actively engaged, and the discussions during the workshop were lively at times. One of the participants was Johan Zelano, who is conducting research on improvements in diagnosis and treatment of acquired epilepsy at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology and at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, where he has an advanced clinical research position. He thought it was enjoyable both to hear others present their research and to get other people’s feedback on his application:
“My application no doubt became clearer – both as to what would be done and why it was important. Some technical details, which certainly are close to my heart but clouded the picture, I removed. I’m glad that the method is well-conceived privately. Kill your darlings, so to speak.”
What does it mean to gather in this way and specifically read and talk about each other’s applications?
“I think it was very useful – and well executed. Of course, it means that all researchers are investing a lot of time applying for money instead of researching, but such is the way of world.”
Quickly to the point
This was the sixth time that the workshop was presented. It’s based on a fundamental concept that Martin Bergö and Gunnar Steineck once worked out, and it has been further developed by Dubi Eliasson, Henrik Lindskog and Ulf Nilsson at the Grants and Innovation Office. The workshop is usually much appreciated by those who participate.
Henrik Lindskog describes some common mistakes they have seen among the applications that have been closely scrutinized in the workshop:
“It’s not unusual for the overall message to be hidden somewhere in the middle of the application and for participants to expect that an evaluator will read their application with great interest from page 1 to page 10. Often they have a good idea along with the baggage, but they don’t succeed in really conveying it. It’s important to get feedback from others.”
“During the workshop we put a lot of emphasis on making the first page clear and complete and that a person essentially should just have to read the first page to understand the overall objective of the application and how this objective will be achieved.”
Workshop on request
The Grants and Innovation Office will be happy to help you organize similar workshops for other groups of researchers.
“For us, it’s a great way to get to know new researchers and in a concentrated manner convey a lot of information quickly,” says Henrik. “It’s an efficient use of our resources. We were delighted when Future Faculty asked us if we could conduct a special version for them.”
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM CLAESSEN
PHOTO OF HENRIK LINDSKOG: JOHAN WINGBORG