One VENI – Two interviews

In a few days my daughter Lily will turn 2 years old. She was born shortly after my first NWO VENI research grant interview, as I went into labor the night after the interview.

I went to the interview during my maternity and sick leave (as I had pregnancy complications) at 9 months pregnant.

I did my best during the interview, but due to the painful labor contractions it was difficult.

Although my grades on the written proposal were excellent, I did not get the grant.

There were a few interview questions, which I did not answer very well and I could not prepare well enough.

I felt that I had to go to the interview, as my post-doc contract ran out.

Once my daughter was born, I wrote a new proposal (during the pandemic with 2 kids at home and unemployed).

I got invited again, which was excellent.

It all worked out and I got the prestigious VENI grant, which is awarded to the top 10-20 percent of researchers in the Netherlands.

I would like to see better support for women and mothers in academia, especially during pregnancy and maternity leave.

-by Anna Schueth


1 Comment

  1. Maartje van Kessel
    June 17, 2021 / 9:45 am

    Dear Anna,

    Sad to hear that you went to a similar process as I did 3 years ago, when I was defending my veni proposal together with my 3 week old daughter. I got the veni, and I wrote a letter to NWO that this is actually a situation that we should not want! Shortly after that, NWO brought out a press release stating new rules and more possibilities for people (both man and woman) who just became parents. Unfortunately, your story proofs that this is still difficult.
    Congrats on recieving the veni this year!

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