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Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) refers to research or scientific integrity training required by some funding agencies, primarily the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Instructional Areas

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified nine core instructional areas that are important for the responsible conduct of research:

  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing, and Ownership
  • Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Collaborative Science
  • Human Subjects
  • Animal Welfare
  • Research Misconduct
  • Conflict of Interest and Commitment

NIH Requirements

NIH requires a minimum of eight hours of “substantive contact hours”  in formal instruction in the above instructional areas for NIH research training grants, fellowship awards, career awards, research education grants, dissertation grants, or other programs where required.

NIH Training Options

NIH’s contact hour requirement is often met by trainees completing an academic course or a specific mechanism built into the award (e.g. two – four hour workshops).  ORC offers a one credit course every spring.

In most cases, trainees will also complete an appropriate, online RCR course from the CITI Program as part of their overall training.

NSF Requirements

Any undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral researcher supported by NSF must complete RCR training.  NSF allows institutions the flexibility to determine minimum training requirements.

NSF Training Options

NSF requirements can be met by trainees completing an appropriate CITI Program RCR online course.

CITI Program RCR Training

ORC uses the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program to provide, deliver, and track research compliance training including RCR.

CITI offers a number of discipline-focused RCR courses though the content is similar, if not the same.  Users must create a CITI account and self-assign training.

Head to the CITI Training Page for more information about CITI, account registration, course assignments, and other frequently asked questions.

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