Unexpected and unknown allies

Now that my dissertation is on its way to the pre-examiners, I’ve had time to reflect on my PhD studies and academia in general. This is actually a topic I’ve never before given much thought, but still it is a crucial part of academia at least in Finland. Namely foundations and people behind them evaluating grant applications.

I don’t have any statistics on this, but I’ve heard from several sources that Finland has the most research funding per capita in the world. That is to say, Finnish foundations are actively funding research conducted in Finnish universities (which, especially during these turbulent times, is a cool thing!).

Let me break down the grant application process: first you write an application, attach necessary documents to it (such as CV, research proposal, budget etc.), send it to the foundation, wait for a couple of months, and then it’s either ‘BOOM’ or ‘thanks, but better luck next time’. Pretty straightforward, right? However, what we often neglect is that there are people – sometimes other academics – evaluating our proposals: it seems we like to think of foundations as bureaucratic machines that require inputs in order to push out outputs.

I’ve been lucky enough to receive enough funding to attend conferences, go abroad as a visiting scholar, and in general focus on my dissertation. It seems there are people who actually like my work and who think it is worth funding – that’s cool! (of course it’s not about having a cool research topic, but also about rhetorics, content, and perseverance)

Anyhow, here I’d like to thank all those anonymous people who have said ‘yes’ to my grant applications. I know it hasn’t been the safest bet (visual research is still a bit unorthodox in my field of study), but I hope you’ll notice it paid off once my dissertations comes out! I know I’m biased to say this, but I say it anyway: visual research will shape organization and management studies greatly in the future, and I’m excited to be part of that movement.

So once again, thank you anonymous evaluators for believing in my work!

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