"“Rejected. For using Calibri,” she tweeted on 27 October, referring to the font that is the default setting in certain versions of Microsoft Word. But the funding body she applied to — the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) — says that it regularly rejects a small number of applications for using the wrong font, although it will not comment on Maidment’s specific case.
"Fellowship grants mean the difference between having a job and being unemployed for many early-career researchers. Preparing applications takes huge amounts of work. “These aren’t trivial applications. It’s a significant piece of research in its own right,” Maidment says."
It seems a harsh / trivial thing to be rejected on. I am sympathetic, having been 'told off' back in the summer by an Art Admin bod for providing too many examples of my work on a proposal. But, come at it from another angle - if the applicant can't follow - or chooses not to follow - the application instructions, then why should they be trusted to follow any other guidelines or processes relating to the job / fellowship? (That same criticism applies to my own proposal)
The guy who wrote the piece for Nature also exposes a layer of privilege here: "“These aren’t trivial applications." - heh - you know, like if you or I - ordinary people - applied for a job. These are special jobs - these are academic fellowships. Sorry, pal, you can't have your cake and eat it - all the more reason they (and me) should've follow the instructions as presented.