I recently wrote about the dismal experience of grant rejection after being smitten with the rejection-letter blues. Now I am in the happy position of reporting on the contrasting outcome of grant success.
As luck would have it the good news was penned by the same research officer whose bland acknowledgement of the time and effort put into an unsuccessful application elicited such annoyance and depression a few weeks ago. I was on holiday when I got the news and was taking a sneaky look at my email in one of e few zones of the property where a signal was available. That ominous subject line ‘Decision on application XYZ1234, popped into view. What to do? Do I look and risk my bonhomie and relaxation being flushed away? Do I try to forget I had seen it? I had to look of course… And the news was good!
So what happens then, when good news comes in? Well, whereas rejection opens up a black hole of despair and rage, confirmation of successful funding gives you wings and the ability to walk on water. I rushed around the house declaring my awesomeness. I tweeted my success. I shouted it out to the uncomprehending residents (maybe only ten in total) of the small French hamlet where I was staying and then told my family over and over and over again. Getting a grant is the greatest affirmation from skeptical peers that your ideas are good, that your research plans are worthwhile and that the effort that went into writing (6 weeks, plus the previous years of lab work) constituted time well spent. The sad thing is that with the value placed on funding over and above published outputs, these moments where success is confirmed become of greater significance than doing the science, obtaining the results and analyzing the data. However, a few days on I am coming down to earth, looking forward to bringing somebody new into the lab and getting stuck in to some fascinating new experiments.
Luckily being in France when I got my positive decision meant that a bottle of bubbly was available. It proved inadequate, but there was plenty more to be had.