Feedback please: Writing a grant for a Terry related project.


We’re betting there’s a lot of students out there who could bring this house down with their message.

Just a really quick post to see if we could generate some feedback. In short, we want to host a student conference one day.

This conference will be an annual event where undergraduates are given a high profile platform to communicate their passions and desires to an audience of their UBC peers. It essentially borrows a template from a well-established conference known as the TEDtalks (, and modifies it for delivery within the UBC setting. Here, the general intent is to bring together the University’s “most fascinating (student) thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives.” Under this context, a single day conference would accommodate 16 nominated student speakers from a wide range of interests and backgrounds. This would provide stimulating content, relevant to a variety of globally relevant issues, that would ultimately foster collaborative efforts and idea sharing amongst the conference attendees. In all, this will strengthen the existing networks responsible for student led initiatives, and in doing so act as a significant catalyst in creating a stronger socially responsible student community.

Basically, I’m in the midst of finishing up a grant proposal for a Terry related event that we can hopefully offer sometime next year. It’s sort of inspired by the TEDtalks conference, which has to be one of the most amazing meetings anyone can ever hope to attend. Anyway, more on TEDtalks later, but for now, I give a hearty recommendation to check the site out (seriously, you can spend several hours at that site).

In short, the grant proposes to host a UBC student centric TEDtalks right here on campus. Here is what TEDtalks is all about, so try to imagine it in the context of our own student community, especially, if we can also host the “prize” element as well (not the cash, but the wish part).

Anyway, the above is the intro to the grant (max of 150 words!). Let me know what you think of the idea.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at

21 Responses to “Feedback please: Writing a grant for a Terry related project.”

  1. Dave Semeniuk

    This is an excellent idea Dave.

    I would love to see included a day of workshops, perhaps led by the 16 students, that would facilitate topic-specific brainstorming among university faculty and UBC students.

  2. kristi

    This would be an amazing conference, and I think with the wish idea, it could actually also be very motivating. And thanks for the link to TEDtalks. It’s now one of my favourite sites.

  3. matthew

    I’m all for this. It would be nice to have students take the stage to wow the crowd for a change. No offence to some of the great speakers you’re bringing out (and others that UBC has), but this would be such a great opportunity for the student community where they can hear their our own.

  4. Churmy Fan

    I love the quote “it shouldn’t work but it does” from the site.
    And I agree on Dave Semeniuk’s comment, but I think it should be more than a day.

  5. cindychow

    I also like this idea. Like TEDtalks, you could video tape the talks and post them on this site as well, so that those who can’t attend still have a chance to listen in.

  6. Shagufta

    This is an amazing idea. The abstract is pretty wonderful, and I really hope this happens. And I heart Tedtalks. One of my favourites is Sir Ken Robinson on whether schools kill creativity. Actually everything on that website is fabulous.

  7. Florin

    Certainly a great idea! Go forth! I especially like that it doesn’t impose limits on topic, but is simply a “best thinkers of UBC” type event. I’d be there fighting for a front row seat!

  8. Eric Asava-Aree

    I’m up for this, David. It definitely will be a challenging event, both for the organizers and for the participants.

    If you need help with planning and stuff, I’m up for it, coz I’m totally stoked for event-organization.

  9. kate

    of course its a great idea! and as long as you get the word out i think you would have a tremednous turn out because there is definately a need for this kind of conference. and i agree that workshops in addition to the speeches would make it even better. hope you get the grant!

  10. esther

    originally, I was like – “What? doesn’t ubc already have a SLC?” when I first read the fb message. then I was like – “Ooo… sounds super cool!” good luck!

  11. Melissa


    how would students be “nominated” to speak?

  12. David Ng

    how would students be “nominated” to speak?

    That’s actually what most of the grant would be looking into. i.e. what’s the mechanism for finding, nominating and notifying students of the conference. The conference part itself is probably pretty straightforward and primarily dependant on the students who attend. i.e. We’ll ask for funding to hire a student team to figure this important facet out.

    I think attendance should be good though, it is (I think) a pretty cool idea, but trying to gauge interest level was one of the reason of putting up this post.

    So far so good!

  13. Melissa

    I think there would be great interest/attendance. such a cool idea.

    I personally think speakers should be chosen using written proposals. It would be a lengthy process, possibly tedious, but this way you can get some serious speakers as well as gauge the array of subjects/topics out there. Whatever committee is formed can vote on the proposals. Maybe you should have a student member of each faculty on the nomination committee.

    just a thought.
    good luck!

  14. Laurence

    As Melissa said, I think written proposals are a great idea to gauge the subject matter but unfortunately, I do not think it guarantees the student is a great speaker. Sometimes great writers do not make for great speakers (and vice-versa). Is there a way to ensure that both the topic and the delivery of the speech are outstanding and inspiring? Auditions seem a little odd for this type of event.

  15. Rebecca Goulding

    This is a wicked idea; I would definitely attend. I think it might be a good idea to have an oral selection process (rather than simple nomination) in the weeks beforehand – building up to the conference? Is this

  16. Churmy Fan

    I suggest nominations should have 2 stages:
    1) for efficiency: allow submissions of 1 letter size page per person. they can put ANYTHING on that page to draw attention and introduce their idea.
    2) interview or “audition” of those selected from 1)
    other details can be worked out

  17. Churmy Fan

    by they way, the terry site’s server needs to turn its clock back an hour

  18. Alia Dharssi

    Amazing idea!! I would love to attend a conference like this!! I think it would be a great way to bring students togethor from different faculties, clubs etc – students who might not normally bounce ideas off one another…..and if the prize element could be pulled off, even better!

    I like Churmy fan’s suggestion for a two step selection process, where the top proposals have some sort of an oral interview/component before the final selection. You could also consider letting students hand in movies or audio pieces instead of the written component; however, this would probably make the selection process much more time consuming for the the group of people making the nominations. Lastly, I also like the idea of involving students from different faculties in a nomination committee… perhaps it could be mostly student led, but with faculty members as advisors.

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