Presentation on theme: "Cerfacs Anniversary How to write a successful scientific proposal using Science-Fiction techniques Jean-Claude Dunyach, Airbus."— Presentation transcript:
Cerfacs Anniversary How to write a successful scientific proposal using Science-Fiction techniques Jean-Claude Dunyach, Airbus
Cerfacs Anniversary USEFUL SCIENCE-FICTION TECHNIQUES… There are three literary notions that are central to Science-Fiction writing that I find very useful when I have to write a scientific proposal to be submitted for funding. These notions are: 1.Suspension of disbelief 2.Sense of wonder 3.Characters you’d love to hate (or hate to love) These three notions can be key to a successful European proposal These three notions can be key to a successful European proposal
Cerfacs Anniversary SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF The temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible… Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1817 Ideally adapted to the submission of a technical proposal for funding! Ideally adapted to the submission of a technical proposal for funding! It refers to the ability a person has when engaging with a constructed object – film, a play, a novel, and of course a technical proposal – to repress their knowledge that it is a “mental construct” and respond to it as though it is real…
Cerfacs Anniversary SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF (2) How do we create this “suspension of disbelief”? Several techniques used in SF could be applicable here: 1.Splitting: 2.Picture yourself there: 3.Use Decoys:
Cerfacs Anniversary SPLITTING To reduce risks, a SF writer would recommend to: Split your research process (your plot) into manageable chunks Don’t concentrate all risks and difficulties in the same workpackage Build a serie of acceptable steps (milestones) and plan your trek to the top Don’t plant a mountain in your own garden
Cerfacs Anniversary PICTURE YOURSELF THERE… If it looks too difficult, a SF writer would recommend to: Pretend you’re already there, describe the expected improvements and make them attractive Concentrate on the benefits, not on the difficulties Consider the difficulties as motivations, not risks… And if everything else fails, use a decoy Describing “the view from the top” Is usually a good idea… Describing “the view from the top” Is usually a good idea…
Cerfacs Anniversary THE SENSE OF WONDER The widening of the mind's horizons is something we all experienced in our life. But sense of wonder appears only when one is able to translate from abstract to concrete and to add emotions to something purely theoretical… How do you do that within a boring scientific proposal? 1.Start with “the big picture” 2.Add a logo, a motto, a splendid metaphor… 3.Use special effects (like in this presentation) 4.Exaggerate
Cerfacs Anniversary THE BIG PICTURE Your contribution is essential… So start with the big picture! My project…
Cerfacs Anniversary CHARACTERS… 1.There are no characters in a scientific proposal, but… Products and artefacts – useful or dangerous – can usually be created from your research. They are acceptable replacements… 2.You’re not supposed to become emotionally involved with your results, but… You have pet projects or theories you hate… Just let it show! Abstract beauty never sells. Add emotional flesh to your theoretical skeleton! Abstract beauty never sells. Add emotional flesh to your theoretical skeleton!
Cerfacs Anniversary CHARACTERS (2) Every good result has an emotional side Every good result has an emotional side If it’s difficult, you’ll be a hero! If it’s difficult, you’ll be a hero! Side effects can become wonderful sidekicks Side effects can become wonderful sidekicks Don’t forget to add a bit of humour… And be creative! Don’t forget to add a bit of humour… And be creative!
Cerfacs Anniversary Thank you for your attention!