National Science Foundation (NSF) Requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has established a training requirement in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for all undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows (postdocs), faculty, and other senior personnel supported by NSF projects. The new regulations implement provisions of the America COMPETES Act and the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 which requires grantees to provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. The scope of the training has been expanded to include training in the area of research security risks as well as federal export control, and disclosure and reporting requirements.
At the time an NSF proposal is submitted, the Grants and Contracts office must certify that the University of Houston has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight for students (undergraduate and graduate), postdoctoral fellows, faculty and senior personnel who will be supported by NSF, to conduct research. Plans are not to be submitted with proposals but are subject to review upon request by NSF.
NSF has specified some of the content but not the mode of delivery of the training in the responsible conduct of research. Nonetheless, the agency has suggested that seminars, web-based programs, workshops and mentoring are some of the acceptable methods of delivery. The University of Houston participates in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), a subscription service providing online research ethics training to members of the research community. Therefore, all students, postdocs, faculty and other senior personnel supported by an NSF project are required to complete, at a minimum, CITI training in the Responsible Conduct for Research at https://www.citiprogram.org/.
NSF expects the RCR training to be delivered during the first year of an award; however, we highly recommend it be taken within 180 days of an individual starting work on the project to ensure integrity is maintained throughout.
Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring completion of the RCR education requirements by all undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and senior personnel who are supported by NSF projects, including subawards, submitted and subsequently awarded. The Division of Research Office of Research Integrity and Oversight will, on a periodic basis, monitor completion of CITI training. The PI will be notified of any individuals who have not satisfied this training requirement.