Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Requirements

This page reviews the principles of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and the use of CITI courses to satisfy RCR training requirements.

Please note: this is not the same as the Human Subjects Research (HSR) training required for IRB applications. For instructions regarding HSR training, go to this page instead.

What is Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)?

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. Projects funded by NSF, NIFA, and NIH have different requirements regarding training that vary by funder and role on the study.

RCR courses vary by discipline. You only need to complete one of these based on your field of study:

  • Biomedical Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Humanities Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Responsible Conduct of Research for Engineers

Projects funded by NSF and NIFA have different requirements regarding training in RCR. NIH RCR training requirements cannot be met by completing CITI courses since it must be face-to-face or in-person training.

Do I have to complete RCR training?

UCR strongly encourages all students and faculty to complete RCR training. If you are working on a project funded by NSF, NIFA, or NIH it is likely that some RCR training requirements apply to your participation. See below for details.

What are the training requirements for specific funding agencies?

This table shows federal funding agencies that have requirements for RCR training

Federal Funder Minimal Requirement for RCR Target Audience (who must do the training) CITI RCR

NSF Online or face-to-face training Undergraduates,
Graduate students,
Postdoctoral researchers

NIFA Online or face-to-face training Faculty,
Program Directors,
Undergraduate students,
Postdoctoral researchers,
any staff

Includes faculty training
NIH * Face-to-face training/interaction

Trainees, Fellows,
Scholars, Participants


Must be completed at least once during each career state and at least once every 4 years


* 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.

Where do I obtain the required training?

If you have NSF or NIFA funding, you can use CITI's online RCR training to fulfill the RCR training requirements. If you have NIH funding, face-to-face RCR training is required. See the instructions below.

Where can I find more information regarding RCR?

Several resources are available for UCR researchers. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) provides RCR information in the RCR section of the Resources Page. ORI also offers a seminar series that deals with topics in human subjects research and compliance. Finally, many professional societies and governmental licensing authorities have adopted policies or best practices that might be usefully considered.

Whom can I contact?

If you need to arrange for in-person RCR training, or are interested in templates for tracking training, contact the Director of the Research Ethics Education Program, Dr. Dena Plemmons at or 951-827-4312

For information regarding online training and requirements, contact RED's AVC Charles Greer at


CITI's Online RCR Training


Step One: Create/Access Your Account

a. New CITI Users (use UCR institutional email if available)

  1. If you have never registered for CITI courses, navigate to the CITI website and click the Register link
  2. Affiliate with UCR by typing the full name: "University of California at Riverside"
  3. Provide the requested user information and click the Next button

b. Returning Users with CITI Accounts Created at UCR

  1. Log into the CITI website
  2. On the Welcome Page in the Learner Tools section, click the Add a Course link

c. Returning Users with CITI Accounts from Other Institutions

UCR accepts CITI certifications, regardless of employer, if the training was completed within the past three years. See the instructions for retrieving certificates of completion. Please submit a copy to You may be required to re-take the above modules in CITI if the previous training did not include human subjects training or if it was completed more than three years ago.

  1. Log into the CITI website using your username and password from the other institution
  2. On the welcome page, click the Add an Affiliation button
  3. Choose University of California at Riverside as your institution
  4. Provide the required profile information and click the Next button to advance to the curriculum selection

Step Two: Select Curriculum

The Select Curriculum page contains several questions designed to help you choose courses to be added to your profile.

Be sure to choose training from the relevant RCR category.

For most of the questions, you can only make one selection, but courses can easily be added later.

The courses related to RCR appear in Question 1, so select the one that most closely matches your discipline.


For the remaining questions, select No or Not at this time, depending on the options available.


At the end of the Select Curriculum page, click the Submit button. A message indicates that your enrollment was successful.


You can start the training right away or complete it later by exiting and logging back into the CITI website.

Step Three: Verify Your Completion Records

CITI automatically records Human Subjects training data and in most cases your completion can be confirmed by UCR staff. However, you may choose to generate a certificate of completion for your own records. This is especially important if you completed the training through a different institution, since UCR staff can only access records for people who affiliated with UCR prior to completing the training.

  1. Log into the CITI website
  2. Click the View Courses button to go to the Courses page, where you can review a list of your complete and incomplete courses
  3. Click the View-Print-Share Record button for the completed course
  4. Select the method you prefer for sharing your completion and click the associated button

For Technical questions, contact CITI at or 1-888-529-5929.

What units on Campus are involved in RCR training?

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.