What do you think? Potential exploitation? Research suppot case



I have a PhD and currently do independent research, and I have even managed to get work published and presented at conferences. I currently work at a university but as academic staff but last year an opportunity to have some sort support/finding for my research came along, I took it. The terms were vague from the beginning and a conditional approval was made in April 2023. I still had to submit more detailed information about the research and have a meeting with the comittee. Due to the vagueness, I presented my initial plan - the ongoing research I was making from the past 1h and 1/2 moreless and I think kind fail to make it clear that the support I was asking was to present results at conference and publish findings. But in my defense, the committee was rude and belittled me during the meeting. They were deliberately obtuse and even on e member admitting that didn't read the proposal and made really stupid comments.

Another issue was the agreed support, £600 for 3 days off work and that's it! I invoiced the university to pay the university. I sucked it up at the time and was quiet but I think this is a joke! I am currently doing the research and don't want to ask anything, so I can do things in my own terms and already submitted abstracts for conference. Yet, the 'research staff' (there isn't really an official reseacrh department) keeps policing me and making demands. I so want to tell them I withdraw as I haven't really received any money or ask for time off, but there is a part of me that wonders if I should play along as in the future this could be something valuable when looking for jobs. Although, I am very skeptical. I still think it comes down to publications and conferences and not grants.

I would like to know if someone has been in a similar situation and what would you advised?

Thank you.