This new approach has been piloted, and continues to be piloted, across a number of UKRI funding calls, including:
- UKRI Citizen Science
- EPSRC Open fellowships (PDF)
- BBSRC Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund (PDF)
- Discovery Fellowships.
Building on feedback from the pilots, UKRI are planning to develop a range of resources to support the implementation of this new approach, including more detailed guidance, training and examples for applicants, reviewers and panel members.
The Narrative CV approach provides a new format that prompts written descriptions of contributions and achievements that reflect a broad range of skills and experiences. This approach seeks to move beyond traditional metrics-based CVs, which are primarily publication lists with employment and education history with little context. The R4R-like CV is a content-rich approach which the Research and Development (R&D) People and Culture strategy paper claims will “provide a more rounded picture of an individual’s career, their achievements and overall contribution to R&D.”
Although the R4R-like CV is a new approach for funding applications, it is not that dissimilar to writing a cover letter or personal statement; writing a narrative that explains how researchers contribute and have impact.
The R4RI format (PDF) prompts you to detail how you have contributed to the:
- Generation and flow of new ideas, hypotheses, tools or knowledge – for example, skills acquired from past research, projects, key outputs such as data sets, software, conference presentations and research and policy publications and published works.
- The development of others – for example, project management, supervision, or mentoring, line management, contributions to the success of a team or its members, collaborations and or leadership in shaping the direction of a team, organisation, company or institution.
- Wider research and innovation community - for example collaboration across disciplines, institutions, and/or countries, commitments such as editing, reviewing and committee work, positions of responsibility, aiding improvement of research integrity or open research culture, or strategic leadership in influencing a research agenda.
- Broader society – for example, engagement across the public and/or private sectors or with the wider public, research which has contributed to policy development or public understanding, other impacts across research, policy, practice and business, and other research users.
The narrative CV is supported by a personal statement offering the opportunity to detail any career breaks, secondments, volunteering, part-time work, and other relevant experience (including in time spent in different sectors) that might have affected progression of a researcher.
The Narrative CV approach has been introduced as part of wider efforts to improve research culture and reform research assessment. The aim of the Narrative CV approach is to support culture change ambitions set out in the Research and Development (R&D) People and Culture Strategy paper. This approach is consistent with the key principles of the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) and the University of Surrey’s responsible metrics statement. Rewards and incentives are drivers of change and, as one of the eight pillars of Open Research, the R4RI approach aims to help to drive change in Open Research practice and improvements to the wider research culture by evidencing contributions in a better way through the:
- Reduction in emphasis on narrow metrics, focusing instead on quality, significance and impact of researchers’ contributions (see our Responsible Metrics statement for more information).
- Opportunity to describe a breadth of outputs (e.g., data sets, software, policy publications and other published works). With the aim to:
- Improve inclusivity – reducing focus on linear, continuous careers and opening up career pathways and transitions between academia and other sectors.
- Reduce barriers between sectors – allowing applicants to provide context for assessors to understand the significance and impact of their work.
- Build a stronger research and innovation system – encouraging researchers to invest time in a wide range of activities, such as developing others and public engagement which contribute to the wider system and ensure these often-invisible activities are visible, recognised and rewarded.
- Adoption of a single, flexible framework to reduce bureaucracy.
- Always refer to the application guidance for the specific fund you are applying to.
- Use active words (led, managed, developed); write in the first person to describe how you have contributed to achievements – when talking about different projects/achievements make sure your role is clear.
- Provide evidence to support your statements - this evidence will be exemplified in the application guidance but can include papers, datasets, conference presentations, posters, collaborations established, software developed and more.
- Reflect upon how you complete appraisal and promotion documents, or personal statements, for prompts on your broad range of achievements. Writing a R4R- narrative CV takes a similar approach.
- Use detail to describe your contributions. UKRI have identified ‘invisible’ contributions as well as the more ‘visible’ ones, stating all would be welcome in a R4R-like CV.
- Review the annotated R4R-like CV (PDF) as a prompt.
- Complete the University of Glasgow open access online course to help those considering writing a narrative CV.
- Ask for feedback from others. Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers can book one to one career coaching and advice to support the development of a R4R-like CV as part of the Doctoral College career development support.
- A UKRI joint funders group is exploring shared approaches towards a R4R-like CV in funding decisions and developing a range of resources that accompany its use, including a library of resources.
- A UKRI alternative uses group to complement the efforts of the joint funders group is exploring the alternative applications of R4R-like CV in the assessment of people, for example, in recruitment and promotion, has also been set up. Professor Emily Farran (email@example.com), Academic Lead Research Culture and Integrity and Emma Francis (firstname.lastname@example.org), Doctoral College Careers Consultant are Surrey representatives on this group and will share further information and learning from this group as it develops.
- See University of Glasgow online course to help those considering writing a narrative CV.
- Résumé for Researchers (R4R)-like Narrative CV: Additional Resources.
- A recording from the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI), a Narrative CV Approach: The what, why and how organisations can engage with it event 21 March 2022, can be accessed via the R4RI UKRI webpage.
- Blog posts: