Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

The objective of the RCR training plan is to define the policies and procedures that will be used to meet the training requirements for the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The Training Plan is a working document. It will be revised on a continuous basis as assessment of the plan is conducted.

The goals of the training plan are:

  • To educate all staff, students and faculty to conduct research ethically and in a manner that supports the integrity of the institution.
  • Promote responsible conduct of research strategies.
  • Increase awareness of the consequences that research has on society.
  • Prevent unethical behavior that will affect the individual and the institution using mentoring andtraining.
  • Prevent research misconduct through effective compliance standards and whistleblower programs.

Training Plan

Scope: All staff, students, and faculty involved in research and research administration should receive training on conducting research in a manner that supports ethical and responsible standards. It is recommended that all staff, students, and faculty conducting research as part of any sponsored project receive training on the responsible conduct of research and to complete, at a minimum, an RCR overview training session. All staff, students, and faculty conducting research on any projects funded by the National Science Foundation must receive training on responsible conduct of research prior to engaging in research on the project. (Please note the Implementation Date listed at the bottom of this document.)

Offerings: Training will be offered via an on-line training program and through classrooms, workshops, training sessions, lectures, and discussion series presentations. All faculty, staff, and students, will have the opportunity to take the on-line courses. The Training Program will be administered through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

The Responsible Conduct of Research training will cover the following instructional areas:

  1. Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  2. Conflict of Interest and Commitment/Effort Reporting (COI)
  3. Human Subjects (IRB)
  4. Animal Welfare (IACUC)
  5. Scientific Misconduct
  6. Responsible Authorship including Peer Review
  7. Research/Scholarly Ethics
  8. Export Control and Related Issues
  9. Fiduciary Responsibility

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in collaboration with the University Compliance Officer and the University Counsel will be responsible for preparing, conducting, and evaluating the training.
  • Faculty, staff, and students who will be involved in research projects funded by federal agencies will participate in the training sessions.
  • The Principal Investigator on federally-funded research projects will provide mentorship to junior faculty and students (undergraduate and graduate) for guidance on expectations regarding research projects.

Background Information

NSF Implementation Activities:

SEC 7009: Responsible Conduct of Research
"The Director shall require that each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project." 

SEC 7009: Implementation Plan

  • Effective January 4, 2010, a proposing institution's AOR must certify that the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.
  • While training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted, institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request.
  • NSF will modify its standard award conditions to clearly stipulate that institutions are responsible for verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research have received RCR training.
  • NSF will support the development of an on-line digital library containing research findings, pedagogical materials, and promising practices regarding the ethical and responsible conduct of research.