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FAQ: Responsible Conduct of Research

Are all researchers required to receive RCR training?

The University of Houston is committed to maintaining a research environment that promotes attention to the highest ethical standards for all sponsored and non-sponsored research. At this point in time, only research projects with a specific RCR requirement will be monitored to assure compliance with the funding agencies’ respective requirements. The Division of Research recommends, however, that at a minimum, all researchers complete the Responsible Conduct of Research training modules within the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online course. On-campus seminars are also offered on an ongoing basis, these are highly recommended to ensure an ongoing culture of ethical research at the University, and are designed to engage further thought and discussion on RCR topics.

Must a RCR training component be submitted along with the grant application for NSF and NIH funded research?

NIH requires that all institutional training grants, individual fellowships, career development awards, research education grants, and dissertation research grants include a RCR education component submitted with each application. Training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF.

How often does RCR training need to be completed?

NIH stipulates that training occur at least once during each career stage and no less than once every four years. NSF has deemed that each institution is responsible for both the content and frequency requirements with which training must occur.

Does every individual associated with a research project need to complete RCR training?

NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any training, career development award, research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. NSF requires RCR training for students (undergraduates and graduates) and postdoctoral researchers supported from salary and/or stipends from the grant.

Who is responsible for “oversight” of RCR training?

NIH does not require certification of compliance or submission of documentation, but expects institutions to maintain records sufficient to demonstrate that appropriate personnel have received the required training. NSF holds institutions responsible for verifying that appropriate research staff receive the requisite RCR training. A helpful tool is available here (DOC) for investigators to track RCR training.