The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is a training initiative to educate undergraduates and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, research staff and faculty. RCR is required when receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health. NSF and NIH have required RCR training since 2010, and USDA-NIFA has required training since February 2013.
What is RCR?
Responsible Conduct of Research refers to a federal initiative to educate researchers whose research is supported by certain funding agencies. Each institution implements the training requirement independently. At UNL, the RCR initiative is implemented through CITI Program’s RCR series, which researchers can complete through online courses and by attending an 8 hour in-person training workshop (dependent on funding agency). Anyone with UNL Blackboard credentials can use the CITI training module.
The National Institutes of Health requires all NIH-funded trainees, fellows, participants and scholars to complete the training no less than once every four years. NIH recognizes that online RCR courses are valuable training supplements but does not consider them adequate as a sole means of instruction.
The National Science Foundation requires all NSF-funded undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers to complete the training at least once.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture requires RCR training. All program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and any staff participating in research and research-related activities (i.e., research, education and extension) supported by a NIFA (competitive grant, capacity grant, cooperative agreement or special project) must participate in RCR training. Learn more about USDA-NIFA award terms and conditions.
|Who Must Complete Training?||Undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers (Trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars). Faculty highly encouraged.||Undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Faculty highly encouraged.||Program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and any staff participating in research and research-related activities.|
|Training Frequency||No Less Than Once every 4 Years||One time requirement||One time requirement|
|CITI Training Required?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|8 Hour In-Person Training Required?||Yes
*See specific NIH funding programs below
|Blackboard RCR Training Can Be Utilized?||No||Undergraduate students per Dept discretion (UCARE)||Undergraduate students per Dept discretion (UCARE)|
NIH 8 Hour In-Person Training: Please note that the 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.
All other awards with RCR training requirements can be satisfied via completion of the online CITI RCR training course.
Topics covered in the in-person workshops and CITI online training are:
- Overview of Responsible Conduct of Research
- Data management
- Peer review
- Collaborative science
- Conflict of interest
- Data acquisition and monitoring
- Ethics and regulations of research with humans and animals
- The scientist as a responsible member of society
- Export controls
Rigor and Reproducibility
In October 2015, NIH and AHRQ introduced new requirements for rigor and transparency for most research grant and individual mentored career development award applications (see NOT-OD-16-004, NOT-OD-16-011 and NOT-OD-16-012). In consideration that this requirement would include extensive development for effective instructional plans, the timeline for implementation was extended to mid or late 2017.
These new requirements are applicable to the following training grant, career development awards and individual fellowships: D43, T15, T32/TL1, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, and U2R, K12/KL2, F05, F30, F31, F32, F37, F38, and FI2. The specific program and application requirements are detailed further as follows:
Institutional training grant applications will be required to include within the training program plan a summary of the instruction planned for all predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees to ensure the knowledge and skills required to design and conduct rigorous, well-controlled experiments that consider all relevant biological variables, use authenticated biological and chemical resources, and apply appropriate statistical tests for data analyses. In addition, a separate attachment will be required to describe in more detail the instructional content and curricular content. The impacted programs will include the following training grants: D43, T15, T32/TL1, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, and U2R.
Institutional career development applications will be required to include within the career development program plan a summary of the instruction planned for all scholars to ensure the knowledge and skills required to design and conduct rigorous, well-controlled experiments that consider all relevant biological variables, use authenticated biological and chemical resources, and apply appropriate statistical tests for data analyses. In addition, a separate attachment will be required to describe in more detail the instructional content and curricular content. The impacted programs will include the following career development awards: K12/KL2.
Individual fellowship applications will be required to summarize in the research strategy section plans to ensure rigorous, well-controlled experiments that consider all relevant biological variables, use authenticated biological and chemical resources, and apply appropriate statistical tests for data analyses. In addition, more detailed description of instruction in rigorous experimental design to ensure reproducibility will be required in the section on Institutional Environment and Commitment to Training. The impacted programs will include the following individual fellowships: F05, F30, F31, F32, F37, F38, and FI2.
In order to assist in meeting these training requirements, UNL has incorporated rigor and reproducibility training information in the NIH RCR in-person trainings which are offered twice per year during the Fall and Spring semester. The above listed information for the in-person RCR training workshops are utilized along with the following information, which is provided as a summary of the topics covered for this training:
- Rigorous statistical analysis
- Transparency in reporting
- Data and material sharing
- Consideration of refutations
- Establishing best practice guidelines
- Endorsements: Principles and Guidelines for Reporting Preclinical Research
Training modules developed by the NIH will be utilized and materials for discussion will be incorporated after viewing of the videos.
Policy and Regulation
The National Science Foundation website provides information about the statutory requirement for the Responsible Conduct of Research initiative and NSF’s implementation.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is in full compliance with NOT-OD-10-019. This RCR regulation applies to certain National Institutes of Health awards. When applying for an award with an RCR training requirement, the request for proposals will specify that investigators are required to submit an individual plan for RCR training directly in the proposal.
Each proposal needs to include a plan that meets the requirements specified in NIH regulations. This plan may include online CITI training or UNL’s RCR Blackboard training, but please note that these courses alone are insufficient to meet the NIH project-specific requirement, which requires a face-to-face training component.
Section 7 of the agency-specific NIFA terms and conditions from February 2013 includes the requirement for RCR training.