Just in time

This week was the deadline for most applications for funding from the Norwegian Research Council (Forskningsrådet). I was tasked with taking care of all necessary files for a larger application in our information security group. Several people had collaborated for weeks on the application, and I had made continuous re-submissions of the application to ensure that we always have a version deposited in the system in case there were unforeseen difficulties.

Wednesday around lunchtime I was informed that we would be getting another letter of support. The fax arrived seventeen minutes before that hard submission deadline after which the research council’s system would not accept any further applications. Owing to swift work of everybody involved, we managed to scan the fax, put a line on the cover letter, compile the cover letter, replace the old cover letter with the new one, add the scanned letter of intent to the large PDF file with all letters, replace the old version of the large PDF file in the electronic submission system, and submit the application. Eight minutes before the deadline the final version of the application had been sent.

When I interviewed for industry positions a couple of years ago, I was asked whether I was familiar with deadline-driven work. The employer had assumed that academia was a world without deadlines, and managing to deliver a product in time was a concept exclusive to industry. I just wonder how people come to the conclusion that academia is not about time.

About Author: Hanno Langweg

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