How we’re improving your funding experience


Introducing a better way for you to evidence your contributions

We are planning to introduce an inclusive, single format for CVs across UKRI.

Based on the Royal Society’s Résumé for Researchers, the new format will allow you to evidence a wider range of activities and contributions than a traditional CV.

What is the Résumé for Researchers format

The Résumé for Researchers template is a content-rich alternative to the traditional CV. It is an opportunity for you to demonstrate where you have made a difference to a research or innovation project, team, community or wider society.

As well as standard milestones and markers, such as a listing of appointments, it allows you to:

  • present both the direct outputs of your research, such as publications, as well as the outcomes of that work
  • evidence where you have developed and supported individuals and teams
  • evidence any contributions you have made to supporting the wider research and innovation community
  • show how you have engaged with the users of their research and wider society.

The format also includes:

  • a personal statement, where you can share your goals and motivations
  • a specific section where you can provide details of career breaks, secondments, volunteering, part-time work or other relevant experience.

Why we’re doing it

Part of UKRI’s mission is to ensure the UK attracts, develops and supports talented people – creating a diverse, inclusive and healthy research and innovation system. We want the UK to be a magnet for research and innovation globally.

In order to do this, we need a working environment that is both challenging and supportive – where researchers are encouraged to question current thinking, to improve the flow of ideas and skills and to nurture future generations.

We need to be able to identify all the people who can support this mission and give them the support needed to flourish and realise their ideas. That means being able to assess a wide set of skills and contributions.

Although we collect this type of information in lots of different ways, we still rely heavily on traditional academic style CVs.

These CVs often emphasise positions and publications. They don’t systematically capture the much wider range of contributions, skills and experiences necessary for a world-class research and innovation endeavour.

It can be difficult for applicants to showcase their successes across the diversity of activities needed – and difficult for assessors to consider these achievements. It is also hard for those who have followed non-traditional career paths to evidence the skills and experience they bring.

As a result, many researchers and innovators – and particularly early career researchers – feel under pressure to deliver against a narrow set of criteria. This has amplified the stress experienced during the pandemic.

By introducing this new format, we will help you to demonstrate the breadth of your experience so that we have the whole picture for assessing your application.

Assessors will be able to take into account a much wider range of research and innovation outputs and outcomes, as well as leadership skills and other essential activities in the community. In doing so we would expect to see higher levels of success from a more diverse range of applicants, which we are continuously monitoring.

What we’ve learnt so far

To understand how the format could work across UKRI, we are piloting a Résumé for Researchers approach.

We have already used this in applications for three funding opportunities:

  • BBSRC Tools and Resources Development Fund
  • UKRI Citizen Science
  • MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnerships.

Feedback from applicants so far has been positive: 60% of respondents within the first opportunity indicated they are satisfied or very satisfied with the format.

In addition, in a survey of Citizen Science applicants, 65% said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the use of a narrative CV in place of the former track record section. 71% agreed it provided more flexibility to highlight specific skills, experience and achievements relevant to delivery of the project.

Applicant feedback did indicate areas for further work and consideration. Notably, applicants were concerned that we minimise the effort required to create these documents.

We are also requesting feedback from assessors to ensure that this format supports them in making fair and robust recommendations to us.

Other pilots

Other pilots are in progress, with more in the pipeline, including:

  • UKRI Innovation Scholars: Data Science Training in Health and Bioscience
  • EPSRC Open fellowships
  • BBSRC Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund.

We are also exploring other methods for assessing applicants, including:

  • anonymised proposals in the EPSRC New Horizons funding opportunity
  • focused sections on ability to deliver innovative research in the NERC Pushing the Frontiers funding opportunity.

Evidence from all these pilots will be used to define and refine the use of a Résumé for Researchers approach and support us in engaging with the community as we embed this change efficiently and effectively.

What happens next

Based on the pilots we plan to:

  • develop guidance for assessors on how to evaluate the format fairly, and be open and honest about the criteria we use – in keeping with the transparency requirements of the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment
  • develop a UKRI-wide framework that works across different disciplines, career stages and pathways, as well as both individual and team applications. To ensure we get this right we will engage the breadth of the community and work hand-in-hand to develop and implement effective solutions
  • streamline our assessment processes so that they support the new format and deliver our longer-term ambition of a healthy, inclusive research and innovation system
  • provide support, training and examples for UKRI colleagues, applicants, reviewers and panel members.

As our plans develop, we will work with you to help evolve our approach. We will ensure you have opportunities to contribute and provide you with clear communications about our intentions and timescales.

Last updated: 16 April 2021

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