Feedback from grant applicants concerning the new application form 

For this autumn’s application process, we made changes to the application form. We requested applicant feedback about the new form. Here are some excerpts of feedback and our responses. Thank you everyone for your feedback! It is very valuable to us!

“I was very confused by the website constantly referring to a ‘project’”. Many foundations use the term “project” when referring to teams consisting of several people, while “graduate student” or similar refers to a single person writing a dissertation. I had to look through the website until I found, after several clicks, whether I can apply for funding a) alone and b) for a dissertation. 

Previously, the Kone Foundation also used the term “research project” for an application by a team of researchers. In the new application form, we refer to all efforts by the applicants as projects. Usually, a project refers to a plan to achieve a certain goal, and in this respect it does not reflect the various dimensions of the work that Kone Foundation supports. By using project, we mean that you cannot apply for a general grant for working; you need to have a plan that you can provide in advance for your work of research. It is not our demand that an artist would have completed a certain work of art with the grant awarded by us; however, one must be prepared to describe one’s work and ideas. Is there a better word to convey this? We are looking forward to suggestions.

“The selection of a discipline is somewhat problematic. There are some very specific fields and then again some very broad concepts, and some very important fields are missing. This could be facilitated by having very non-specific definitions or letting the applicant freely describe their own discipline.”

“The new structure resulted in new challenges regarding the selection of project type and reviewer For the most part, this was a positive thing for filling in the application; however, it did result in some rather useless wondering about how the decision-making will really take place at the Foundation. I assume this is not the purpose of the new structure.

The first submitter of feedback presumably means the selection of a reviewer profile when mentioning the selection of discipline, because the new application form lets the applicant indicated their own field freely. The reviewer profiles, however, had been pre-determined, because we wanted to leave it for the applicant to decide who/which of these reviewer profiles would be best suited to assess the application.

By doing this, we wanted to make the application review process more transparent. The reviewers change annually, and they will make proposals of the applications in their profile.The Members of the Board and the representatives will discuss the proposals with the experts. This constitutes a proposal to the Board of the Kone Foundation, which will make the final decision on the grants to be awarded.

“I am not too keen about the bold initiative section. It has a marketing-oriented approach (which is, in a way, understandable), but if you are trying to concentrate and make an effort to describe the essence of the meaning of your future work, this bold initiative is as if you were asked to perform a jumping handstand or some other trick that will cause a stir in the audience.”

The Kone Foundation does not want to give an exhaustive definition of boldness. It can mean different things to different people. It can mean overcoming your own barriers and diving into new things. It can also mean slowness or maybe incompleteness. By asking “Why do you consider this a bold initiative?” our goal is to encourage the applicants to reflect their own work more profoundly and to think what their work is about.

In conclusion, here are a couple of excerpts from the feedback that made us smile.

“The deep anxiety that usually develops with applications never came!” 

“The colours remind me of nail polish and women’s magazines” 

“You could give tips to Kela and co. on how to make simple applications.” 

”Thank you for the wonderful, personal, and responsive service you provide grant applicants.  Whether or not I get the grant, I have a very positive impression of your foundation and the staff in particular.”