Today’s post is brought to you by my frankly tepid Intellectual Merit section in my current NSF application.
As it turns out, intellectual merit is pretty much my thing. Interest in how the theoretical implications of my work is going to Revolutionize Anthropology* is my main motivation for this project and I AM excited about it. But being excited about the project and writing like I’m excited about the project (particularly in the emotionally sterile style of grant writing) are two different things. But there’s help! In her excellent feedback on my application, my adviser left the comment,
This section should try to capture the enthusiasm expressed by your committee members at your comprehensive examination. Did you jot any notes in your defense re: our comments on the contributions made by your dissertation?
And the answer is, not really. I tried to make sure I wrote down all the areas that needed improvement, but while I certainly enjoyed the praise I received, I didn’t keep it for posterity. And now I really wish I had. Because if I had good notes about what I did right? They would be pretty much directly ripped off for these sections trying to demonstrate my worthiness for thousands of dollars worth of support.
So! If you have yet to hear from your committee on your work, be prepared!
* okay, okay, maybe just age and citizenship