Over the past several years, a team of Canadian defence and security scholars, scientists, officials, officers and interested parties from civil society have been working on building the Canadian Defence and Security Network. This past year, we have been working on a grant application to fund activities and events that would generate a heap of research, training and sharing of knowledge. Since I returned from Chile in July, this has been my highest priority, eclipsing pretty much every other work obligation (I am far behind in writing up the case studies for the Dave, Phil and Steve project).
We just submitted it. It has 26 or so pieces including six forms, fifteen documents we had write ranging from one to eight pages long each, and four items that required ten, thirty-two, thirty-two, and one hundred people to address, including one that involved lawyers (gasp!).
We have about a 50-50 chance at this point, and we won't know until spring. While I have whined much about it, the process itself has been great. It has helped to build and connect a community of interesting people. It made events like the NATO summit more rewarding as I used them to help bring in new partners. This partnership effort caused me to go to three different conferences/workshops taking place over the last 10 days in Ottawa, and I learned a great deal from each, even though all were outside my area of research/focus.
I have gotten much assistance and inspiration from the leadership team. The whole idea is to create structures that harness the energy and interests of the community, so it is not a one-man show by any stretch of the imagination. The proposal we submitted yesterday is so much better for all of the suggestions/comments/revisions that the partners and the leadership team made along the way.
The joy of this is that the effort to get funding for a network/partnership has built such a thing even before we have received funding. Of course, the money would be more than handy because we would be far more productive (research, training, dissemination, etc) doing stuff than planning to do stuff, but still it is important to note that the exercise, if it goes unfunded, will not have been a waste of time. Incredibly frustrating, sure, but it was time well spent. I made new friendships and deepened old ones, and I learned a lot. These are things I value the most.
And the timing is fitting as today is the seventh anniversary of my announcing my move to Carleton and to Ottawa. None of this would have been possible without the support of Carleton. From the VP for Research to my Dean to my Director to my colleagues to the director of our research centre to my research assistant to our grants facilitator and others in the funding chain of advice/command at Carleton, I have received so much support, assistance, advice, and more.
So, I owe much gratitude to Stef, Steph, JC, David, Alex, Andrea, Phil, Anessa, Irina, Al, and Srdjan; to the folks on our advisory board; to the many partners; and to Rafik, Andre, Teddy, Karen, Melissa, Tabbatha, and Patrica, and especially to Jeff, Alvine, Kate, Kyla, Kyla and Kyla (nope, not three different ones, just one doing the work of at least three different people).