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SSHRC Doctoral Waitlist 2019-2020


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22 hours ago, ButterTurtle said:

A question about the review process (not sure that anyone can answer) so I can move forward/improve for next year. I e-mailed SSHRC to get a breakdown of my scores. One reviewer scored me 3/10, another reviewer scored me 8/10. I'm not understanding this AT ALL. How can I effectively improve an application with these huge differences? I'm sure many of us are in the same boat.

It used to be if there was a difference of 2.5 point scores between both adjudicators it would be reviewed by the committee/chair, SSHRC has increased that number every year. This year I think it's 3.5. That still doesn't account for a 8 and a 3, I'm guessing that your particular application was reviewed by the committee in addition to the 2 panelists, and should have been flagged because of the discrepancy. It's sadly quite common to have big differences between scores. Their use of discretion has been justified by consistently updating policies to permit it. To me there is no reason for an 8 and a 3 unless the application grading is completely subjective. 

In this case you could write to SSHRC and asked if they followed internal policies on having the discrepancy in scores reviewed by the committee and chair?

At the same time I would say don't take the scores to heart. All you can do is make the best proposal you can within your means (next year: can it have more specific methods, clearer theory, seek a review/edits from faculty you have good relationships with, from other colleagues, can you add conferences/volunteer work etc). At the end of the day many great applicants don't get awarded and it is at least a little bit arbitrary. Every year the proposal should be more specific (I want to do X, I'm about to do X, this is how I'm currently doing X), and even if you're still on coursework/comps, there should be a way to add some more specific details/locations/dates/timelines etc.

I've been successful with provincial awards every year (x3) and had MA SSHRC and some larger internal awards, have years of relevant work experience and community support on my project, references from leaders in my field, 90+ average, publication, conferences, and I still can't get SSHRC (though I've gone from rejection 2x to waitlist 2x). I start from scratch every fall and no matter how good I feel about my application I ask multiple friends and a couple professors to review it and see what feedback I can add and what feedback I will pass on. I usually start early-mid August so I have enough time to go over it and seek feedback. Anyway, good luck!

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On 5/11/2020 at 5:49 PM, Threesisters said:

I am curious if you were 4a or 4b - or if you know? My scores were higher and no waitlist, and committee 4 has a waitlist with a 10.8. Makes no sense to me unless different subcommittees. Sigh.  

I'm not sure if this was for me, but I was committee 4a

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On 5/12/2020 at 8:56 AM, elodie said:

It used to be if there was a difference of 2.5 point scores between both adjudicators it would be reviewed by the committee/chair, SSHRC has increased that number every year. This year I think it's 3.5. That still doesn't account for a 8 and a 3, I'm guessing that your particular application was reviewed by the committee in addition to the 2 panelists, and should have been flagged because of the discrepancy. It's sadly quite common to have big differences between scores. Their use of discretion has been justified by consistently updating policies to permit it. To me there is no reason for an 8 and a 3 unless the application grading is completely subjective. 

In this case you could write to SSHRC and asked if they followed internal policies on having the discrepancy in scores reviewed by the committee and chair?

At the same time I would say don't take the scores to heart. All you can do is make the best proposal you can within your means (next year: can it have more specific methods, clearer theory, seek a review/edits from faculty you have good relationships with, from other colleagues, can you add conferences/volunteer work etc). At the end of the day many great applicants don't get awarded and it is at least a little bit arbitrary. Every year the proposal should be more specific (I want to do X, I'm about to do X, this is how I'm currently doing X), and even if you're still on coursework/comps, there should be a way to add some more specific details/locations/dates/timelines etc.

I've been successful with provincial awards every year (x3) and had MA SSHRC and some larger internal awards, have years of relevant work experience and community support on my project, references from leaders in my field, 90+ average, publication, conferences, and I still can't get SSHRC (though I've gone from rejection 2x to waitlist 2x). I start from scratch every fall and no matter how good I feel about my application I ask multiple friends and a couple professors to review it and see what feedback I can add and what feedback I will pass on. I usually start early-mid August so I have enough time to go over it and seek feedback. Anyway, good luck!

Thank you for this. I'm not taking it personally, I just wish I could make sense of all of this. To have one reviewer rate my academic experience and achievements at a 4/5 and the other reviewer at 1/5....  Similar to you, a 90 average, a teaching fellowship, a research fellowship, 15 teaching assistantships, lots of conferences. No publication yet tho... so maybe that is why. Besides a publication, there is not anything else I feel like I can do. 

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18 minutes ago, ButterTurtle said:

Thank you for this. I'm not taking it personally, I just wish I could make sense of all of this. To have one reviewer rate my academic experience and achievements at a 4/5 and the other reviewer at 1/5....  Similar to you, a 90 average, a teaching fellowship, a research fellowship, 15 teaching assistantships, lots of conferences. No publication yet tho... so maybe that is why. Besides a publication, there is not anything else I feel like I can do. 

Did they give you a specific breakdown of the scores beyond the 2 scores? That's so frustrating. I had something similar happen previously. I feel you re: feeling like there is not much we can do between now and September, specially if you're in a field where publishing is a bit slower or happens a bit later in your program/field.

All we can do is reapply (if eligible) and seek feedback from colleagues. Maybe the start of a publication process/ article that won't necessarily be approved by fall, but maybe we can work on something to have submitted by then while working on other deadlines etc.  Publishing is really daunting to me but there are a lot of good self help books/ workshop books for social science publishing.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, ButterTurtle said:

Thank you for this. I'm not taking it personally, I just wish I could make sense of all of this. To have one reviewer rate my academic experience and achievements at a 4/5 and the other reviewer at 1/5....  Similar to you, a 90 average, a teaching fellowship, a research fellowship, 15 teaching assistantships, lots of conferences. No publication yet tho... so maybe that is why. Besides a publication, there is not anything else I feel like I can do. 

This sucks a lot - sorry it happened to you. I had a similar (well, lower) score last year, although I didn't ask for my score breakdown.

What your score breakdown suggests to me, though, is that you are absolutely on the right track. One reviewer thought you were absolutely great and gave you a score worthy of a CGS-D. The other one didn't, for reasons we can't know - maybe they were having a bad day, maybe they just don't like your particular topic, maybe they are lacking some type of knowledge that the other had. It's really awful that these things are reviewed by only two people, because humans are stupid and you can get torpedoed by just one miserable person.  But other than that one person who ruined things, your academic background and the one positive reviewer suggest overwhelmingly that you're doing the right things.

As I was waiting nervously for results this year, my supervisor told me that he had just talked to a professor colleague who is among the most successful in the country at bringing in gigantic institutional grants from SSHRC and other organizations, totaling many millions over their career - and with all of their experience and incredible track record they had just been rejected for a really large SSHRC grant for no logical reason. It's all a stupid opaque game of chance, and all a person can do is continue trying to build up competencies and clarify the expression of ideas. In the long run (I like to think) that's the work that will take us a lot further than this finite scholarship can anyway.

...none of this, of course, will make things suck any less right now, so enjoy some well-earned weeks of intense resentment against SSHRC and then, when you're ready, prepare to bang down their door again next year. 

Edited by angrycrustacean
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On 5/14/2020 at 9:46 AM, angrycrustacean said:

This sucks a lot - sorry it happened to you. I had a similar (well, lower) score last year, although I didn't ask for my score breakdown.

What your score breakdown suggests to me, though, is that you are absolutely on the right track. One reviewer thought you were absolutely great and gave you a score worthy of a CGS-D. The other one didn't, for reasons we can't know - maybe they were having a bad day, maybe they just don't like your particular topic, maybe they are lacking some type of knowledge that the other had. It's really awful that these things are reviewed by only two people, because humans are stupid and you can get torpedoed by just one miserable person.  But other than that one person who ruined things, your academic background and the one positive reviewer suggest overwhelmingly that you're doing the right things.

As I was waiting nervously for results this year, my supervisor told me that he had just talked to a professor colleague who is among the most successful in the country at bringing in gigantic institutional grants from SSHRC and other organizations, totaling many millions over their career - and with all of their experience and incredible track record they had just been rejected for a really large SSHRC grant for no logical reason. It's all a stupid opaque game of chance, and all a person can do is continue trying to build up competencies and clarify the expression of ideas. In the long run (I like to think) that's the work that will take us a lot further than this finite scholarship can anyway.

...none of this, of course, will make things suck any less right now, so enjoy some well-earned weeks of intense resentment against SSHRC and then, when you're ready, prepare to bang down their door again next year. 

Thank you for your kind words! It definitely seems like a little bit of luck, but hopefully as well all keep moving forward and applying, we will get lucky. Funny about what your supervisor told you - even the big names are getting rejected! Good luck with your application next year

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