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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)


The 2007 America COMPETES Act directed NSF to require that all funded students and postdocs undergo training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The implementation of this requirement became effective January 4, 2010, requiring all institutions submitting proposals to NSF to certify that they have a training plan in place for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who will be supported by NSF to conduct research. This certification must be in place at the time of proposal submission. Training plans need not be submitted with the proposal, however, they must be provided for review upon request. Institutions are responsible for verifying that their undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars receive training.

Used with permission from National Postdoctoral Association information on the NSF 2010 RCR Requirement.

Interactive Video on Research Misconduct from the Office of Research Integrity


University of Maryland College Park Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY: The National Science Foundation, by mandate of the United States Congress in the America Competes Act, Section 7009 requires all undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF research funding to receive training in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). All undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF research funding at the University of Maryland College Park must take the Responsible Conduct of Research course through the on-line CITI training program or through workshops offered by the Division of Research. This training is also recommended for those not currently required to complete this course.

This applies to all NSF awards granted for proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010.

Undergraduate Training

Undergraduate NSF Training & Certification (DOC)

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)/U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training are subject to NIFA review upon request.  Note that the training referred to herein may be either on-campus or off-campus training. This training may be completed online through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for RCR or through an all-day workshop at UMD. The all-day workshop is presented by senior faculty and staff members and allows attendees to discuss RCR topics and concerns with experienced individuals. 

This applies to all NIFA/USDA awards granted for proposals submitted on or after February 1, 2013.

NIH RCR Requirements

NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. This Notice applies to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R. This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.

Instructional Components

NIH recognizes that instruction in responsible conduct of research occurs formally and informally in educational settings and that informal instruction occurs throughout the research training experience. The guidance provided below is directed at formal instruction in responsible conduct of research. It reflects the accumulated experiences and the best practices of the scientific community over the past two decades. These practices have been incorporated into many of the best regarded programs of instruction in responsible conduct of research.

1. Format: Substantial face-to-face discussions among the participating trainees/fellows/scholars/participants; a combination of didactic and small-group discussions (e.g. case studies); and participation of research training faculty members in instruction in responsible conduct of research are highly encouraged. While online courses can be a valuable supplement to instruction in responsible conduct of research, online instruction is not considered adequate as the sole means of instruction. A plan that employs only online coursework for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be considered acceptable, except in special instances of short-term training programs (see link above), or unusual and well-justified circumstances.

CITI Training for RCR

If you need to complete the RCR requirement before attending one of our workshops, you can do so by taking the online CITI training for RCR.  To do so, please follow the instructions below:

Log on to the CITI program to complete the training. You will be able to create your own user name and password as this is not linked to your UMD ID. Be sure to select the University of Maryland College Park as your institution and select the track that is most appropriate for the research you are conducting. If you cannot complete the training in one sitting, you can save and finish at a later time (You can stop and start as many times as you need).

The CITI Basic RCR course is being updated to strengthen and simplify the delivery of the RCR content.  Learners who have started or need to take their RCR basic course prior to 25 November 2014 should complete and pass their entire course before that date. Otherwise, they will be unable to finish the partially completed course and will have to start over with the new RCR basic course.

Workshops offered by the Division of Research

Currently, there are no in-person RCR Workshops scheduled. However, dates and registration instructions will be posted here when the scheduling is finalized.

Online RCR Training can be taken through CITIProgram. Guidance can be found in the above section.

Introduction and Guide to Resources on Research Ethics

Ethics are fundamental to all academic research. They foster the trust necessary for complex institutions of modern research to function. In particular, researchers’ behavior must inspire their colleagues’ trust in their research results and the public’s trust that the information created through university research is reliable and that public funding of research is valuable. In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirement that all NIH trainees receive training in research ethics has increased interest in research ethics.


Other Research Ethics Education Resources

Beyond online training modules, many Web sites provide access to case studies, bibliographies, and other materials for learning about and teaching research ethics.

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