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Last week I was notified that NWO had recived 128 grant applications in the humanities: more than four times as many as were likely to be funded. Therefore they are going to use a short-listing procedure, discarding the projects that would in all likeihood not be successful without having to forward them to the referees. For the purposes of this assessment procedure I have to submit, before noon tomorrow, a 1 page “layman summary”. The main purpose of this document, however, is not so much to summarize the project itself, but to situate it in the context of the ongoing discussions in my field for scholars outside my field. Unfortunately, there were no instructions on how to achieve this in ~500 words …

There is no way I could fit an adequate literature review and status questionis in one A4 page, and even if I could it would make no sense for scholars from other disciplines that do not already know at least part of the literature. So instead I tried to point out that in the field of the School of Brentano more research and publication of primary sources are needed and that I was in the position to give a novel and significant contribution in this respect.

The result of this shortlisting should be made known by the end of February/beginning of March. If I am shortlisted, this means my proposal will be sent on to the external referees. If that goes well, I’ll go on to the next round, an interview with the humanities commission somewhere around May/June. There are lots of “ifs”, but at every step there is the possibility for an appeal or a rebuttal.

In the meanwhile I don’t lack for work, having to finish my book, give talks, prepare papers for conferences, and soon enough teach classes in Leuven again.

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