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Updated — January 8, 2024

Action Research on Research Culture: Narrative CV Project in Postdoc Recruitment

Case studiesGood practices  For:Research institutes

The ARRC team at the University of Cambridge is running a controlled trial to investigate the effects of using narrative CVs in postdoc recruitment. Narrative CVs aim to avoid placing a narrow emphasis on lists of achievements such as authored publications, awarded grants, etc. Using a narrative CV might allow researchers to highlight their wider research experience and can provide recruiters a broader understanding of the applicant’s abilities beyond a list of publications and grants.

So far the project has run five experimental recruitments testing the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) narrative CV template alongside standard academic CVs. The five pilot recruitments are now being analyzed to identify any initial findings and potential improvements to the study design. The study aims to test the effect on shortlisting of CV format as well as consider applicants’ and recruiters’ experiences with each format.

University of Cambridge is working to improve research culture through changes in recruitment, development and retention of scientists. The Narrative CV study is just one of multiple projects at the university that encourage taking action toward research assessment reform and promoting societal contributions of research without reliance on metrics for success.

This graphic from the ARRC team displays the progression of this study, briefly touching on each step of the process in using narrative CV’s during postdoc recruitment.

University of Cambridge (2023). Action Research on Research Culture: Narrative CV Project. https://www.arrc.group.cam.ac.uk/narrative-cvs