Palaeontologist Susie Maidment spent weeks putting together a fellowship application, only to have to it rejected because she used the wrong typeface.

The dismayed Imperial College researcher had applied for a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) fellowship award, and had noted the guidelines which ask for documents in:

Arial 11 or other sans serif typeface of equivalent size to Arial 11.

The rule is designed to stop applicants from squeezing in extra information as different fonts can allow slightly more words on the page.

Maidment used the similar-looking Calibri, the default font on Microsoft Word, which she assumed would be fine. The scientist was subsequently stunned to find out she'd been rejected for her choice.

Apparently four per cent of NERC grant applicants are disqualified each year for font violations.

Maidment, who missed out on an average grant of £65,000, told Nature:

These aren’t trivial applications. It’s a significant piece of research in its own right.

I would like to be judged on the science, not how I formatted it.

HT Nature

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