Responsible Conduct of Research Training - NSF and NIH Required

Effective: May 10, 2011
Contact: Vice President for Research


This policy complies with National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirements for an institutional program of education in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). NIH defines responsible conduct of research as "the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research." This training is separate from the training required for research involving animals, humans, and biohazards.


NSF requires responsible conduct of research (RCR) training for all undergraduates, graduates, and post-doctoral fellows who conduct research supported by NSF funds. All institutions submitting applications must certify, at the time of application submission, that plans are in place to provide appropriate training and oversight of the RCR training. Certification of compliance with the requirements is given by the office for responsible research (ORR) on behalf of the vice president for research.

Similarly, NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant must receive RCR training. This requirement also applies to all faculty, including new faculty, mid-career faculty and senior faculty, and professional and scientific employees receiving funding from these sources. Plans to meet the RCR requirements must be specified in the principal investigator's proposal application.

Each institution is responsible for verifying that the required training is being completed.

Policy Statement

All individuals identified above must complete RCR training as outlined on the RCR website (see Resources below).

Principal investigators are responsible for ensuring that training has been completed for project personnel as required by NSF and NIH. When project personnel are hired after the award period of performance has begun, principal Investigators must insure that those individuals also received the required training.