Thursday, 8 March 2012

Three bound copies / printed on one side only

Science funding agencies always make me feel more like a beggar than like a highly qualified scientist. And the problem is that this is somehow a self-fulfillig prophecy. Compared to industry, an academic career already pays less and offers you no job-security. If they are even trying to take your dignity, you have to be quite an idealistic person to stay in. The very reason why science funding agencies exist, is that they are trying to make highly motivated people work on basic research, since this may benefit society in a way that is not possible through for-profit research. The funded scientists are no beggars but the very reason why these agencies even exist. And any kind of negative selection that might make motivated people turn away is definitely not in the interest of these agencies.

I am of course grateful for the Humboldt foundation in general. But I am wondering what kind of unworldly bureaucrat wrote the "Guidelines for completing the application".
a) Application form (printed on one side only)
b) Curriculum vitae (printed on one side only)
c) Research plan (printed on one side only)
d) Key publications (list printed on one side only / three bound copies)
What annoys me about that? First that these things have to be provided in printed form: There is such a thing as the internet, which allows transportation of information faster, cheaper, and with a smaller carbon footprint. Then why do you have to print it one-sided? Because only an increased footprint shows that you are really serious? Or because it is fun if every folder is twice as thick? And finally, why is "printed one side only" written for every single point on the list? Because the desired "highly qualified applicants" are too stupid to read it if it only says it once? I guess, people did not do it. But only because of environmental or practical considerations and not because they did not understand it when it was written only once.

I personally can swallow my pride (somehow) and apply. But I wonder for how many people things like this are the tipping point for a career in the industry or economy where they get more money and have a safe job for more than one or two years. And ideally a secretary does some of the bureaucratic things, so that they can actually focus their work time on the things they received many years of specialized training for.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of this story:

"If Wall Street was not there as an alternative, I would have gone into academia." JOHN J. MOON Managing director of a private equity firm, who had intended to become a teacher."

Felix said...

I guess if academia wants a share of the high performing people, they have to do something. and if it is not money that they can offer, they should at least make everything else as easy as possible