Grieving academic grant rejections: examining funding failure and experiences of loss

Erica Borgstrom, Annelieke Driessen, Marian Krawczyk, Emma Kirby, John MacArtney, Kathryn Almack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Bidding for research funding has increasingly become a main feature of academic work from the doctoral level and beyond. Individually and collectively, the process of grant writing – from idea conceptualisation to administration – involves considerable work, including emotional work in imagining possible futures in which the project is enacted. Competition and failure in grant capture are high, yet there is little discussion about how academics experience grant rejections. In this article we draw on our experiences with grant rejections, as authors with diverse social science backgrounds working with death and bereavement, to discuss how grant rejection can be conceptualised as a form of loss and lead to feelings of grief. We end by considering what forms of recognition and support this may enable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalThe Sociological Review
Early online date10 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Nov 2023


  • academia
  • Higher Education
  • grief
  • research funding
  • rejection
  • higher education


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