HRB Narrative-like CV: The Career Track CV


The HRB is fully committed to the DORA principles that research and researchers should be assessed on the merit of their research as a whole and not solely on journal-based metrics, and that the value and impact of all research outputs be considered. As signatory of the DORA declaration and the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (COARA), the HRB support a research environment where importance is placed on the intrinsic value and relevance of research and its potential impact in society.

Since 2016 the HRB has been using a narrative-like CV, now referred as HRB Career Track CV, in its research career funding schemes, where the person is at the core. A narrative-like CV is generally understood to encompass a structured description of a researchers’ contribution and achievements that reflect a broader range of skills, experiences and research outputs beyond publications and funding records.

The HRB Career Track CV template has been slightly revised based on HRB reflections from earlier experimental work and the feedback gathered from the first round of surveys assessing the users’ experience (applicants, mentors and reviewers). The CV is also more aligned to the Royal Society Résumé for Researchers and best international practice.  

What is the HRB career track CV format?

The HRB Career Track CV is richer and more comprehensive compared to more traditional academic CVs, which are typically based solely on quantitative metrics (typically publications). The HRB Career Track CV template is not solely based on a narrative structure and includes some quantitative metrics (e.g. most relevant research funding and research outputs), complemented by narrative-based sections that support a qualitative assessment.

In addition to some basic details including ORCID, researchers are asked to write a personal declaration, describing, if they wish, any breaks from research, and their key contributions under four section headings:

  1. Contributions to generation of knowledge
  2. Contributions to training and development of others
  3. Contributions to the wider research community
  4. Contributions to broader society

Why have a more detailed HRB Career Track CV?

We are committed to the fair assessment of researchers based on the merits of their contribution as a whole.

The use of a narrative-like CV is an opportunity to reduce the massive influence of journal-based indicators in grant reviews and to promote a more holistic assessment which recognises societal outcomes of research in addition to the generation of knowledge.

Why not the same CV format across all schemes?

The HRB Career Track CV is used across career funding schemes such as postdoctoral fellowships, emerging investigator stage and research leadership awards.

In schemes where the focus is not primarily on the Lead Applicant but on the generation of knowledge and the associated outputs from the research, a shorter CV format is used. It is worth noting that the HRB has never used journal impact factors as part of the assessment and selection of awards n any scheme.

We are keen to explore the potential benefits of using a Career-track-like CV as part of the assessment of team-based approaches to career investments (e.g. Collaborative Doctoral Awards).

Who is this for?

Since 2022, this CV format is mandatory for Lead Applicants, Co-Lead Applicants and Mentors in HRB research career funding schemes and is an integral part of the overall funding application. Co-Applicants are asked to complete a shorter CV, in line with other HRB project and programme schemes, requesting the key information to be assessed by reviewers depending on the type of the co-applicant (e.g. researcher, knowledge user, PPI contributor, etc).

Researchers applying to career funding schemes should use the Career-track CV to present their career paths in a convincing and comprehensible way. Reviewers are not asked to score the different sections of the Career-track CV individually but assess the overall CV in line with the assessment criteria of the funding scheme.

Each HRB Career Track CV should be tailored to the individual completing it and to tailored to the funding opportunity they are applying for.

The users experience of the HRB Career Track CV

The HRB is committed to regularly evaluating the experience of those using the Career-track CV by surveying research applicants, mentors, where applicable, and reviewers in different career schemes. These surveys collectively help us to understand:

  • The acceptance and usability of the CV among users.
  • Effectiveness of the guidance provided to users.
  • How this approach is affecting the way research is assessed and funding is awarded.

To date, we have conducted two rounds of assessment of user experience. 

  • Round 1 Surveys 2021-2022: What are the results of the first round of the users’ experience?
  • Rounds 2 Surveys 2023-2024: The second round, which is based on the Joint Funders Group shared evaluation framework, is currently underway. This second survey includes an additional module which collects basic demographic and EDI variables of those surveyed, which will enable us to glean richer information within and across different respondents. The findings of the second round of surveys are expected in late 2024.

Please contact Dr Annalisa Montesanti ( for further information. 

The Joint Funders Group

Established in 2021, the Joint Funders Group brings the HRB together with international funders to explore a shared approach to adopting a narrative-like CV format. The Group is led by UKRI in the UK.

Members of the group collaborate to develop resources to support the implementation and evaluation of such a CV format across the research sector.