Opening up conversations about researcher evaluation
Résumé for Researchers has been created to support the evaluation of individuals’ varied contributions to research. Find out more about the background to the tool in The Royal Society blog here.
Sustained excellence in research requires a range of contributions
By creating a working environment that is both challenging and supportive, researchers help improve the flow of ideas, encourage talent to join their organisations and nurture future generations of researchers. To make the decisions concerning the people that create such an environment, decision-makers need to be able to assess the previous contributions made by individuals.
Over the years, the research community has developed ways of assessing contributions to the development of new ideas often by focusing on individuals’ portfolios of outputs and the impact of their work. However, a researcher’s overall contribution to research goes beyond their easily attributable outputs and impact. Too narrowly focused performance indicators can make it harder to see, reward or nurture the full range of contributions that are necessary to create the environments that enable excellence and steward it for the future. To recognise these wider contributions, the Society aims to prompt conversations on the evaluation of researchers.
Showing the full range of an individual’s contributions to excellent research
To prompt such conversations the Society has developed Résumé for Researchers, which is intended to help researchers to share their varied contributions to research in a consistent way and across a wide range of circumstances.
Résumé for Researchers is not designed to replace more granular information where needed. The strength of the tool lies in its ability to provide a concise overview of an individual. It draws from other established and internationally recognised biosketches, assessment matrices and application forms, as well as having the Society’s own evaluation methodology at its heart.
A flexible and adaptable tool
Résumé for Researchers can be adapted for a range of different processes that require a summative evaluation of a researcher. To be effective, the tool must provide value when used by researchers in a wide variety of situations. These include those working in different disciplines, at different career stages and by those who work independently as well as those who work in large teams.
The Society has tested the Résumé with a range of different groups and organisations, including senior leaders in academia, the national academies, industry professionals, early-career researchers and career development professionals.
What does it look like?
We propose that Résumé for Researchers is a structured narrative document with four modules and space for a personal statement and personal details. An outline of the structure with guidance notes for each of the constituent sections is included below. You can also download this template of the suggested structure (PDF). The four-module narrative section has a suggested total word limit of 1000 over two pages, with the individual deciding how to distribute that across the modules. It has guidance on what could be included in each module, but the individual decides what information to include. The outputs and success measures found on a standard research CV, such as publications, funding and awards, fit naturally within the modules. However, the Résumé for Researchers tool allows these achievements to be put in the broader context of the researcher’s activities.
The Résumé for Researchers structure
Provide your personal details, your education, key qualifications and relevant positions you have held.
MODULE 1 – How have you contributed to the generation of knowledge?
This module can be used to explain how you have contributed to the generation of new ideas and hypotheses and which key skills you have used to develop ideas and test hypotheses. It can be used to highlight how you have communicated on your ideas and research results, both written and verbally, the funding you have won and any awards that you have received. It can include a small selection of outputs, with a description of why they are of particular relevance and why they are considered in the context of knowledge generation. Outputs can include open data sets, software, publications, commercial, entrepreneurial or industrial products, clinical practice developments, educational products, policy publications, evidence synthesis pieces and conference publications that you have generated. Where outputs have a DOI please only include this.
MODULE 2 – How have you contributed to the development of individuals?
This module can be used to highlight expertise you provided which was critical to the success of a team or team members including project management, collaborative contributions, and team support. It can include your teaching activities, workshops or summer schools in which you were involved (for undergrads, grads and post-grads as well as junior colleagues), and the supervision of students and colleagues. It can be used to mention mentoring of members in your field and support you provided to the advancement of colleagues, be it junior or senior. It can be used to highlight the establishment of collaborations, from institutional (maybe interdisciplinary) to international. It can be used to describe where you exerted strategic leadership, how you shaped the direction of a team, organisation, company or institution.
MODULE 3 – How have you contributed to the wider research community?
This module can include various activities you have engaged in to progress the research community. It can be used to mention commitments including editing, reviewing, refereeing, committee work and your contributions to the evaluation of researchers and research projects. It can be used to mention the organisation of events that have benefited your research community. It can highlight contributions to increasing research integrity, and improving research culture (gender equality, diversity, mobility of researchers, reward and recognition of researchers’ various activities). It can be used to mention appointments to positions of responsibility such as committee membership and corporate roles within your department, institution or organisation, and recognition by invitation within your sector.
MODULE 4 – How have you contributed to broader society?
This module can include examples of societal engagement and knowledge exchange. It can include engagement with industry and the private sector. It can be used to mention engagement with the public sector, clients and the broader public. It can be used to highlight positive stakeholder feedback, inclusion of patients in processes and clinical trials, and other impacts across research, policy, practice and business. It can be used to mention efforts to collaborate with particular societal or patient groups. It can be used to highlight efforts to advise policy-makers at local, national or international level and provide information through the press and on social media.
Provide a personal statement that reflects on your overarching goals and motivation for the activities in which you have been involved.
Mention career breaks, secondments, volunteering, part-time work and other relevant experience (including in time spent in different sectors) that might have affected your progression as a researcher.
A Template is available here.
This is related to Governments initiative around reducing bureaucracy in UKRI bidding.
This post was written by Steph Bales, Director of Research and Innovation Services