Office of Research, UC Riverside
Office of Research Integrity

Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. The Office of Research and Economic Development (RED) and the Research Ethics Education Program (REEP) have developed an Institutional Plan to Meet Federal Requirements for Training and Oversight in the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research.

UCR's REEP website provides information about available RCR education and training opportunities and resources on campus, as well as links to relevant federal and institutional policies. You can also find various training and mentoring materials on this page.

A wide array of resources and information exists to help inform RCR training for UCR researchers. For example, Office of Research Integrity offers a monthly seminar series that deals with topics in humans subjects research and compliance. Also, many professional societies and governmental licensing authorities have adopted policies or best practices that might be usefully considered.

The following is a snapshot of main federal funding agencies that have requirements for RCR. See the headings below or click the links for more detailed information regarding the agencies and the requirements associated with them.

Federal Funder

Minimal Requirement

Target Audience




8 hours of
face-to-face training/interaction

Trainees, fellows, scholars, participants


*Training must be undertaken at least once during each career state and at a frequency no less than once every 4 years

*See the program list of grants/awards below


On-line or face-to-face training

Graduate students,
Post-doctoral researchers



On-line or face-to-face training

Program Directors, faculty, undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers,
any staff

*Includes faculty training

*Requests for information re: online training/NSF requirements may be directed to AVC Charles Greer in the RED office (

UC Riverside Requirements

According to UCR's Institutional Plan, the PI and the trainee have primary responsibility for obtaining and documenting the required training.  REEP has developed a template document for tracking training that you may find useful in planning for and documenting the federally required training. Part of your NSF and NIFA requirements could be met by completing the relevant online RCR courses through CITI (you must use your email account for this).

NIH Requirements

For NIH, the requirements for such training apply to all NIH Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, and Dissertation Research Grants. The programs are listed as: 
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.

The guidance states:

While  on-line  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...,  or  unusual  and  well-­justified circumstances.

Guidance from NIH goes on to state:

"Instruction  should  involve  substantive  contact  hours  between  the  trainees/fellows/scholars/participants  and  the  participating  faculty.  Acceptable programs generally involve at least eight contact hours.  A  semester-­long  series  of  seminars/programs  may  be more  effective  than  a  single  seminar  or  one-­day  workshop  because  it  is  expected  that  topics  will  then  be  considered  in  sufficient  depth,  learning  will  be  better  consolidated,  and  the  subject  matter  will  be  synthesized  within  a broader  conceptual  framework."

NSF Requirements

The NSF also requires training in RCR for any undergraduates, graduate students, or  postdoctoral  researchers  supported  by  NSF  to  conduct  research. NSF guidance states that

"each  institution  is  responsible  for  the  content  requirements  of  its  RCR  training  program,  and  the  frequency  with which  such  training  must  occur.  NSF  understands  that  some  institutions  would  like  NSF  guidance  about  content  for  training  in  responsible  conduct  of research.  However,  NSF  believes  that  the  research  community,  encompassing both  individual  researchers  and  institutions,  is  best  placed  to  determine  the  content  of  RCR  training  without  a  need  for  NSF specified  standards. Furthermore,  NSF  recognizes  that  specific  training  needs  may  vary  depending on  specific  circumstances  of  research  or  the  specific  needs  of  students intending  to  pursue  careers  in  basic  or  applied  science  after  completing  their education.  Therefore,  it  is  the  responsibility  of  each institution  to  determine  both  the  content  and  the  delivery  method  for  the  training  that  will  meet  the  institution’s  specific  needs  for  RCR  training  in  all  areas at  that  institution  for  which  NSF  provides  support.  Furthermore,  each  institution  must decide  if  development  of  content  or  pedagogical  method  is  required,  or  if  appropriate  content  and  training  can  be  provided  from  some  existing  sources  or  capabilities,  and  take  appropriate  action  to  implement  their  decisions.

NIFA Requirements

The NIFA requirements note that

"The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering. Consequently, education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future scientists. 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. The general content of the ethics training, at a minimum, will emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration and reporting misconduct. Each institution will be responsible for developing its own training system, as schools will need flexibility to develop training tailored to their specific student needs. Grantees should consider the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for RCR ( Typically this RCR education addresses the topics of: Data Acquisition and Management - collection, accuracy, security, access; Authorship and Publication; Peer Review; Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities; Collaboration; Conflict of Interest; Research Misconduct; Human Subject Research; and Use of Animals in Research."

Training Templates

Please contact the REEP Director for assistance with a customized RCR training plan that meets the needs of your specific discipline, student population, and training grant.


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