Distractions and reports

Doing publicly funded research requires a special kind of bureaucracy-crazy. Or deadline-fetishism. There are deadlines for getting the application submitted in time, for spending the money, for how long you can have people employed, and for reporting back. And there is a gradient, those projects are more fun in the beginning, and that fun is transforming into bricks on your shoulders the closer you get to the end in the project. It is super fun to design and apply for the project, it is fun to carry it out. And when you reach the stage of writing up the results to publish them, results that you yourself already know about and feel done with, this is the breaking-point when you start to design and write new research-applications. But however tempting it is to skip reporting, and even publishing, and keep applying for new grants inetsad, this is not a good career-move. You will likely be well funded for a few years, but at some point there will be no more organisations that thinks it is a good idea to invest in your research.


Reporting is the least fun part, and the likely reason you end up having to do it is because these projects are 3 or 4 years long, so when you apply for them it is so far in the future so you don´t weight it in to the pros and cons of the project. Four years from now, for all you know you can be sitting on a beach in Hawaii by then, having quit science and devoting your time to scuba-diving and surfing. So you will end up approaching these deadlines, and usually you are pretty alone with the task (-Hi, Mattias, how are the numbers for the repport coming along, it is due in six hours? –Hi there Anders, what report? Oh that one, I’m sitting by Mont Blanc discussing science with some friends, it is really nice, you are missing out!). And it is just amazing how much stuff you get done when you really need to focus all your time on finishing the report. For example, I’m turning in one of them today, and over the latest four days I have prepared and signed a number of contracts with far away parts of the world that have been sitting in my ”to do” pile for weeks, I have written and submitted two new applications that I was not planning on, and I have organized a whisky-tasting. All these other things that you never have time to do seems very important when you have a reporting-deadline coming up.