Tips for not being hacked - the faces of science

The good and bad news about applying for grants – the faces of science

Applying for grants is one of the inevitable aspects of conducting scientific research, because someone has to fund your research. Depending on the support provider, your chance of being funded is between 5-20%, and the other 80-95% will be rejected. Not because these studies are not good, but because there is little money available and so they have to choose. So you have to write an average of 5-10 requests before you will be awarded. Writing such an application will take from a few weeks to several months of work. Like me, many researchers do this largely in their spare time.


Of course it starts with a good research question and plan, but there’s no shortage of that in general. But how do you make sure that others are also convinced of your mission? Some people have a knack for this “skill”, but you can certainly learn it. There are many courses available and many companies that specialize in (supervising) the writing of these applications. However, the majority of requests were rejected. The process for each provider is slightly different, but generally you submit a written application where a panel of experts evaluates the content and selection. Sometimes there is a second round of interviews.

As a scientist, you cannot do without a grant to help fund your (medical) research.

I went for innovation support within the center I work at (LUMC). The aim of this scholarship is to link the integration between the different areas of research expertise at LUMC. Anyone can submit an application within their region. The first round in my area involved a written assessment by two (independent) colleagues. I made the best proposals for the second round where I gave a five-minute presentation to a large group of colleagues. arousing! They gave a “score” for your pose and the top three were allowed to advance to the last LUMC level round. I was in these top three. Yes!

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However, this evaluation round was also confrontational. The anonymous reviews were shown to me later. You can score between 1 (bad) and 4 (good). My average score was 3, but there were also some people who gave my research 1. I’m still wondering. Did they really think it was a bad plan? Did I explain it correctly? Or was it perhaps a tactic to get another study into the top three? You never know. The process – despite many efforts – often remains opaque. That’s why I have a love-hate relationship with applying for research grants.

good news

Back to the good news, I have Great and important scholarship Owns. It is a financial contribution of €10,000 for scientific communication from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Of course, here is an update of our plans/activities in the coming period. Tip of Veil the goal is to teach people more about DNA research, but also to learn something about how people think about DNA research.

I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Leiden University in appreciation. In addition, I enjoyed a fun and inspiring first (digital) encounter with all the Leiden scholars (different faculties) who have received this scholarship, led by Rector Magnificus and Ionica Smits. Immediately there were great ideas for cooperation.

I will just write a new application for this research scholarship. I learned a lot from trying this again and hope to have more “luck” next time.

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