Heart attack. On. The. Spot.


So, I was gonna take it easy here… keep it light, after my rant of last week. Get back in the routine, I almost even had a post prepared and all. In my head, obviously (who writes drafts, anyways?).

And then this happened.

Dear ———————-

I am happy to inform you that your application for an EMBO long term fellowship has been selected for an interview and sent to:

Dr. Gideon J. Davies
Department of Chemistry
York Structural Biology Laboratory
University of York
York YO10 5DD
United Kingdom
Tel +44-1904-328260
Fax +44-1904-328266

Please contact your interviewer directly to arrange an appointment.

You should use second class rail to travel to your interview or, if a one-way journey is longer than 8 hours, an economy air fare. If you travel by car, please include an estimate of the cost of the journey by second class rail; this will be the amount reimbursed by EMBO. The daily rate EMBO pays for accommodation and meal costs during an interview in the United Kingdom is EURO 75.48. If an overnight stay is involved, EMBO will pay a complete daily rate, up to a maximum of two daily rates.

If your travel costs are likely to exceed EURO 500, please contact the EMBO office before booking.

Please note that the deadline for the interview is 13 May 2011.

Best wishes



So, to provide some context – in science, at university, you rarely get employed by university itself, rather you are paid externally by grants, foundations, … which you apply for and which provides you money for yourself, for a project, … . The money can be for a few months, for a year, but never (rarely?) more than 4 years. So basically, in science you are constantly balancing searching for scientific answers and searching for money.
My money runs out in august, and thus last February I applied at 2 organizations (success rates are somewhere between 10-30%, so you kinda have to bet on several horses). One of them, EMBO, is a highly competitive one (good money, if you know what I mean…) and for this call the first round consists of a written application, and selected applicants then go through a second round: an interview with an expert on the topic.

In all fairness, I didn’t expect much from it. It’s the first application I ever wrote – in under 5 days, at that – and as there are literally 1000s of people applying… no way. Just… no way.

But there you go! I miraculously made it through the first round and get to interview! It just made my day until I saw the name of my interviewer…

Gideon Davies.

Gideon Freaking Davies.

That is… daunting.

Imagine you’re applying for a grant in English literature, and your interviewer would be Jane Eyre.
Or for a grant in Applied Physics and you have to defend your project to Albert Einstein.

Thát kind of dauntingness (<- proof I never took English lit, lol).

I'm not even belittling myself for the sakes of getting encouragement, I'm just stating a fact here – I have. no. chance :o.

Gonna be fun though ;).

10 responses »

      • I was already sitting at the computer when I got the notice you posted! I’m good like that. ;)

        You’ll be fine. Deep breath and imagine him in his underwear. No wait……that’ll just make you laugh. You better go with your own way on this one.

        Good luck!

      • Damn I never even got notified of this comment!

        First thing he remarked upon was a pretty serious nomenclature error which found its way into my PhD and had thus far gone unnoticed by everyone involved… which is a pretty embarrassing note to start on ;). I’m pretty sure I won’t get it, but it was a great experience and I learned a lot so… all is good!

  1. Congratulations!

    But he’s the INTERVIEWER right? If you had said, it would be like you are competing for a teaching position against Stephen Hawking, I’d be like, “Dude. I agree. Enjoy your visit to UK! And could you get me an autograph from Hawking after he beats you for the position without even opening up his mouth?” But you are not competing against Mr. Davies. Fortunately. :-)

    • Lol – Hawking FTW!

      Oh, my, I wouldn’t even bother to SHOW UP if I were to compete against him :D. He’s the interviewer, I’m the interviewee, really (I think) I am supposed to defend my project and explain 1) why it is a great, novel, world-shockingly amazing project and 2) why I am the best person in the world to do the job. I’m convinced of neither, so I guess I’m gonna work on that first ;).

  2. Don’t think that way! Think “I CAN DO THIS! I WILL DO THIS!” and go in there and knock his socks off! Good luck! :)

    • Damn, something must be off with the notifications here cause I never saw your comment before!

      You are American aren’t you? Us Europeans can use some of that confidence sometimes I think ;). I’m not quite sure I knocked his socks off, but it was a great learning experience so I was very happy with that. And now it’s all I can do to wait for news… .

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