Narrative CVs

Information and guidance on Narrative CVs, as well as steps to take to make your own Narrative CV.

What is a Narrative CV?

A CV format that provides a structured written description of a researcher’s contribution and achievements reflecting a broad range of relevant skills and experience. 

Narrative CVs are relatively new in the academic field. Unlike a traditional academic CV they allow a candidate to tell the story of HOW they have had an impact on the field and the wider skills and experience that they have gained. This is different to a traditional CV, which focuses on WHAT has been achieved. 

Where did Narrative CVs originate?

In 2018 / 19 the Royal Society collaborated with academics, industry professionals and early career researchers as they wanted to see more contributions visible and valued. This led to the development of the Resume for Researchers (R4R) that moved away from narrowly focussed performance indicators. This was the first iteration of a Narrative CV. 

This is an evolved version of a the Royal Societies Resume for Researchers.

In 2021 UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) adopted the Resume for Research and Innovation – like Narrative CV’s (R4RI). This is an evolved version of the Royal Societies Resume for Researchers. This version of a narrative CV is intended to reward a wide range of contributions to research across a wide range of career paths and personal circumstances.

For further information see the Resume for Research and Innovation guidance

Overview of what a Narrative CV looks like

  1. Personal details, education, key qualifications and relevant positions 
  1. Then textual sections on the following: 
  • How have you contributed to the generation of knowledge? This could include your publications and funding awarded, but also the contributions to research and innovation and skills developed during your career. 
  • How have you contributed to the development of others? This can include supervision and mentoring as well as formal line management experience.  Also, how you have brought about collaborations, provided expert advice or project management experience? 
  • How have you contributed to the wider research community? This could take many forms and just a few examples are: contributing to collaborations or networks; editing, reviewing and committee work; conference organization and leadership; development of standards and best practice; and influencing a research and innovation agenda. 
  • How have you contributed to broader society? Have you engaged with non-academic stakeholders or the general public? How has your work influenced public, private or third sector organisations? 
  • Additional Information. This is an opportunity to raise anything else of relevance that does not easily fit into any of the other sections. 

The hope is that the introduction of this new style CV will improve inclusivity and diversity within the sector which will benefit all of us. 

Taken from Charis Wilson blog post (Edinburgh Research Office) - Narrative CVs for Research and Innovation


Everything that you write should be backed up with evidence and examples as well as providing the context of how your experience has had an impact. 

Use active ‘power verbs’ to describe your role and achievements e.g. planned, negotiated, initiated, created etc. 

A Narrative CV gives you the opportunity to describe in more detail those roles and skills that seem less focussed on research specifically and provide a more holistic view of all that you contribute to the research environment and culture.

Publications and Citations

Many organisations using narrative CVs will not ask for a full list of publications as they have made a commitment not to use journal based metrics. You can choose to highlight publications but focus on the process and impact of the research.

What to do next

Find out more about the principles of Narrative CVs, get advice for selecting examples to include, and read model answers to help you write your own:

Edinburgh Research Office Narrative CV’s Narrative CVs (  (EASE log-in required)

University of Glasgow online course writing a Narrative CV Rise Articulate

The University of Surrey, example Narrative CV with annotations (PDF)

The Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) are using narrative CVs, the presentation and mural are particularly helpful in highlighting what goes into a narrative CV Narrative CV - 2023 workshop resources

The University of Leeds Creating your Resume for Researchers or Narrative CV, detailed information on what to include 

The University of Dundee Narrative CV's the backgroundNarrative CV's - Tips for getting started; and Narrative CV Workbook


Further Action

If you are a University of Edinburgh staff member making Fellowship applications contact the Edinburgh Research Office for further support.

Review ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Fellowship Applications’ for the essentials on crafting an application.

For further advice and review of your narrative CV, University of Edinburgh research staff can book a 1:1 Career Development Consultation with Eleanor or Darcey (Research Staff Careers Consultants).