RCR Training FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who must complete the responsible conduct of research (RCR) training requirements?
All undergraduates, graduates, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, and other senior personnel conducting research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any National Institutes of Health (NIH) training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant must complete RCR training. In addition, NIH requires that new faculty, mid-career and senior faculty members receive training.
What training must each individual complete in order to satisfy the RCR training requirements?
To meet the NSF training requirements, all individuals must complete either an online RCR training course or a one-credit or greater RCR course, e.g. GR ST 565 course. NIH generally requires eight hours of face-to-face training of a specified set of topics. For more information about the online training and the credit courses approved for satisfying this requirement, visit the Training page of the RCR website..
Who is responsible for determining the RCR training plans for applicable individuals funded on NIH grants?
The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for developing the plans. However, ISU identified three courses that will meet the requirements. For more information about the online training and the credit courses approved for satisfying this requirement, visit the Training page of the RCR website.
Can the PI develop their own RCR program for individuals in their lab?
Yes. PIs may develop any program that they deem appropriate for their lab with approval from the VPR office, and they may also use a mix of courses and modules. The requirements listed on the RCR website are the minimum requirements that Iowa State University has determined will meet the specifications outlined by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health training requirements.
There are multiple PIs, multiple labs, and multiple professors involved in my grant. Who is responsible for ensuring that all of the training requirements are met?
The PI of the award is responsible for collecting the information specifying the training plans for each applicable individual, submitting the information to the ORE, and ensuring completion of the requirements.
Do I need to report when individuals will no longer be supported on the grant?
No. Once the training requirements have been completed for an individual, the ORE does not need to track individuals who are no longer on the grant.
When should a person subject to these requirements receive training?
NIH requirements state that “Reflection on responsible conduct of research should recur throughout a scientist’s career: at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels. Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years. It is highly encouraged that initial instruction during predoctoral training occurs as early as possible in graduate school; individuals at the early career investigator level (including mentored K awardees and K12 scholars) must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research at least once during this career stage. Senior fellows and career award recipients (including F33, K02, K05, and K24 awardees) may fulfill the requirement for instruction in responsible conduct of research by participating as lecturers and discussion leaders.” The NIH requirements apply to continuation applications (after January 1, 2011) and 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.For NSF-supported persons, there is no time frame specified. For graduate students, it is recommended that the training occur sometime after the student has become engaged in research, such as after the first year. If a student takes the training too early, the discussion topics and/or training may not be as meaningful. It is recommended that postdoctoral students take responsible conduct of research training in their first year.
Who is responsible for maintaining documentation of compliance with the RCR requirements?
NIH does not require submission of documentation to their office in order to verify compliance. However, the institution is expected to maintain records sufficient to demonstrate that NIH-supported trainees, fellows, and scholars have received the required instruction. NSF guidance specifies that the institution is responsible for verifying that NSF-supported undergraduates, graduates, and postdoctoral researchers receive the required training. As such, the ORE coordinates with investigators to verify and document completion of the requirements.
Does the RCR training plan have to be in place before any award is made, or at the time of proposal submission?
NSF requires that the RCR training plan must be in place at the time of proposal submission. NIH requires that the plan be submitted with the grant proposal. Reviewers will evaluate the plans for instruction as well as the past record of instruction in RCR where applicable.