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Why is Alzheimer’s Research UK piloting narrative CVs?

From Alzheimer's Research UK

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narrative CVAlzheimer’s Research UK is piloting the use of narrative CVs in the upcoming funding applications. This new format consists of questions that guide applicants to provide supporting evidence of the skills, expertise, and experience unique to them. The aim is to support an individual’s varied research outputs and contributions to the wider research community.  

What are the reasons behind this change? 

We are committed to recognising and rewarding the full range of contributions a researcher makes to their field. Moving away from the traditional CV formats, we hope to increase the diversity of researchers applying for our grants and to put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of our decision-making processes.  

This decision to change our funding procedures is part of a wider commitment to greater inclusivity and diversity in dementia research. Over the past year, we have: 

How was this CV format developed? 

We have adapted the questions in our applications from the Résumé for Researchers Narrative Style CV developed by the Royal Society. This is in line with the recommendations set out by the University of Glasgow – UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) Pilot 

We then convened a focus group to discuss and provide feedback on the proposed narrative-style CV format. The focus group consisted of researchers from a diverse background in terms of career stage, research area, career path, and experience in grant applications. After considering and incorporating their feedback, we are now moving forward with piloting this proposed CV format in our upcoming Research Fellowship applications.  

What do we hope to achieve? 

Assess applications responsibly 

  • Focus on qualitative (quality, significance and impact), rather than quantitative (metrics) assessment. 
  • Facilitate the work of grant review panels by offering a broader view of applicants’ experience. 

 Create an inclusive process by removing barriers and broaden who can apply  

  • Support non-linear research career paths. 
  • Support early-/ mid-career researchers for whom a traditional CV may not be well suited compared to more established researchers. 

 Create the right incentives 

  • Incentivise researchers to broaden outputs. 
  • Promote open access publishing and move away from a focus on the venue of publication. 
  • Encourage team science and collegiality 

 Reduce barriers across disciplines and sectors 

  • Align our procedures with other funders, including the Joint Funders Group. 
  • Save applicants’ time. 

 As we pilot this new CV format over the coming months, we will continue to work with our reviewers and applicants to seek feedback, review and further develop our grant funding procedures. We will then evaluate its use and consider rolling it out to other schemes. 

You can view a narrative CV template with guidance tips on our website. 

If you found this podcast useful, check-out more articles and blogs on narrative cv’s:

Guest Blog – Your Résumé Needs You!

Time to rethink the scientific CV

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