I have been notified that I have been invited for the interview round in the VIDI selection process. This means that I have progressed one stage further than last year. While this still gives no guarantee that my project will be funded, in general this suggests that the project is considered “fundable”, i.e. sufficiently interesting and realistic. However, unfortunately: “it’s not a test, it’s a contest”. You don’t have to be good enough, you have to be better. Again and again each candidate has to prove (to a commission of non-specialists) that their research is relevant, their hypothesis makes sense, the resulting knowledge can be “valorised”, etc. On March 6, I will have the privilege to convince the commission that my project deserves to be funded. I will have the opportunity to give a 5 minute presentation (think “elevator pitch”), the whole interview will last 20 minutes. Then it will take until May before the final decisions are announced. All the while I will remain in uncertainty, and will have to pursue other options to continue my career (and pay my mortgage).
At the moment I am scraping together various temporary part-time teaching gigs. During February and March I teach Modern Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and in April I will co-teach the course on 20th Century philosophy at the University of Groningen. I am grateful for these opportunities and enjoy finally being able to teach history of philosophy, but still these are stepping stones to a shore that might not exist. It does not give me the opportunity to develop a bond with the students or staff, I cannot realistically (co-)supervise theses, let alone dissertations. I have to develop a lot of courses from scratch, which I might never teach again in the same form and be able to improve based on student feedback. This is far from efficient both for myself as well as for the students and institutions involved. Moreover, between teaching and looking for a job, the time I can dedicate to research and writing is very limited and fragmented.
Besides the VIDI there is one other opportunity that recently opened up: a position in history of (late) modern philosophy at Utrecht University. Interestingly, the position also involves interdisciplinary teaching in the Liberal Arts and Sciences programme. The deadline is March 12, so immediately after the VIDI interview I will prepare and submit my application materials and try to get invited for this interview too.