Guidance for Applicants on the SFI Narrative CV

These guidance documents provide detailed information about SFI’s Narrative CV for individuals [individuals include individual researchers or groups of researchers preparing applications for submission to SFI Programme calls (excluding the SFI Discover Programme call)] preparing their applications to SFI Programme funding calls. These guidance documents and FAQs are part of an ongoing consultation process; as such, they may be subject to further changes/amendments as part of continuous improvements. We welcome comments and responses to these guidance documents from all stakeholders. These should be submitted to

SFI is implementing the narrative CV to align with DORA principles by:

  • Changing the way SFI assesses researchers for funding through the use of a narrative CV and novel scoring methodology.
  • Introducing a narrative CV template to allow a diverse range of research outputs to be recognised and assessed, focusing on the quality and impact of individual research outputs.
  • Excluding all journal-based metrics (such as journal impact factors) and most author-based productivity metrics (such as H-index and total number of publications) from the grant evaluation process.
  • Guiding applicants not to include journal metrics or research performance metrics (SFI reserves the right to redact metrics  from review if metrics are included).
  • Guiding reviewers about the change in researcher assessment procedures.

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognises the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated beyond widely used journal impact factors. The declaration was published in 2012, and a set of recommendations were developed by journal editors and publishers at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco. The declaration has become a worldwide initiative and, to date, more than 2,400 organisations and 18,500 individuals in 153 countries have signed up to DORA.

SFI became a signatory of DORA in 2019, making a formal commitment to assess the quality and impact of research through means other than journal-based metrics and research performance metrics such as impact factors and H-index. In January 2022, SFI reinforced its existing commitment to the core principles by joining DORA as a member at the Contributor level. As a member, SFI has aligned its grant evaluation processes with DORA principles.


DORA Funders Discussion Group

SFI is a member of the DORA Funders Discussion Group which was set up in March 2020. This community of practice was established to promote discussion and communication about research assessment reform in line with DORA principles. DORA members are from both public and private research funders. The group is made up of public and private funders and meets every quarter. SFI has presented at the funder group discussion, a summary of which can be found at DORA.

Resume for Researchers Joint Funders Group

SFI is a member of a Joint Funders Group, which is an international community of practice of research funders working on the roll out of the narrative CV. The approach is based on the Royal Society’s Résumé for Researchers and is focused on sharing approaches and best practice. The Joint Funders Group has developed guidance documents for funders wishing to implement the narrative CV which can be found on the Ukri website.


The University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow undertook a project in collaboration with the UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN) to review the effectiveness of the narrative CV format. The project involved the input of eight early career researchers and a mock panel comprising representatives from research funding organisations (UKRI, CRUK, Wellcome), academics and research managers. The findings of the project are summarised in a report which shares feedback from participants and recommendations for funders, societies and institutes.  The University of Glasgow also produced additional resources for researchers to guide them on preparing a narrative CV.

Summary of findings from project: Narrative CVs

Online course: Narrative CVs: resources to help you write one (25 min)

Online workshop on findings of report and resources for researchers: Narrative CV: A Glasgow Pilot (46 min, YouTube)


The Royal Society created the Résumé for Researchers (R4R) as a tool that can be adapted for research evaluation process to support the evaluation of an applicant’s varied contributions to research. A suggested template can be found on the Royal Society website.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have launched a Joint Funders Group, an international community of practice of research funders working on the roll out of the narrative CV, based on the Royal Society’s ‘Résumé for Researchers’ (R4R), through exploring shared approaches.  The Joint Funders Group have developed guidance documents for funders wishing to implement the narrative CV. The Joint Funders Group webpage with resources can be found here.

The Luxembourg National Research Fund and DORA have collaborated in developing a resource for research assessment entitled ‘Balanced, broad, responsible: A practical guide for research evaluators’. This resource provides a checklist of six suggestions for research funders seeking to improve their processes for responsible research assessment. A short video has been developed which features the checklist and is also supported and is also supported by a briefing document.