Brown University is committed to fostering an environment of responsible conduct of research. The University also has an obligation to train and prepare the next generation of researchers to conduct their research objectively and with honesty, accuracy, and efficiency.  “[R]esponsible conduct of research is defined as the practice of scientific investigation with integrity.  It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.” (National Institutes of Health, NOT-OD-10-019)

While norms for responsible conduct of research can vary from field to field, there are many commonalities and shared best practices. The Brown Ethics And Responsible Conduct Of Research (BEARCORE) program is designed to educate young researchers and trainees from a variety of academic fields on how to conduct their scientific investigations responsibly and with integrity.  BEARCORE is an in-person training program that may be supplemented by on-line instruction through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI).  It is held each spring and fulfills NIH and NSF requirements.

Classes are taught by faculty members and OVPR subject matter experts. Topics include

  • conflicts of interest

  • human subjects and animal research

  • safe laboratory practices

  • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships

  • collaborative research & export controls

  • peer review

  • data acquisition and laboratory tools

  • research misconduct

  • responsible authorship and publication

  • the scientist as a responsible member of society

  • fiscal responsibility in sponsored research

While BEARCORE is used primarily by trainees and new researchers to fulfill NIH and NSF RCR requirements, it is open to anyone in the Brown community.  In sessions where spaces are limited, enrollment preference will be given to NIH/NSF trainees. Course requirements for researchers and trainees with NIH and NSF grants include attendance of all in-person sessions/lectures, participation in class discussions, and completion of pre-work and homework assignments.  If you have questions about BEARCORE, please email Rebecca Haworth.

BEARCORE Refresher Course

The NIH requires that RCR training be completed at least once during each career stage (i.e., undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty levels), and at a frequency of no less than once every four years. NSF defers to each institution to determine the frequency of RCR training for its NSF-supported trainees, and Brown encourages NSF trainees to follow the same training frequency requirements as those enforced by NIH.  Once you complete the in-person course of instruction to satisfy the initial RCR training requirement, you may then complete refresher courses to comply with the career stage requirement and/or the requirement to complete re-training no less than once every four years.  To complete the BEARCORE Refresher Course, you must attend a minimum of 4 hours of in-person BEARCORE sessions of your choosing during the spring course offering (i.e. 2 Mandatory Sessions; 4 Elective Sessions; or a combination of Mandatory and Elective Sessions).


The Spring 2018 BEARCORE course will be conducted via four, two-hour mandatory sessions and additional one-hour elective sessions. Sessions are co-taught by Brown faculty members and subject matter experts with in-depth topic area knowledge. The sessions are predominantly case-based, and include mixed-media presentations, panel discussions, and in-class discussions of hypothetical and real scenarios drawn from current literature and news media.  

Course Requirements: Participants must attend all four mandatory sessions and four elective sessions, participate in class discussions, complete pre-work, and homework assignments, in order to earn a Certificate of Completion.

Course Dates:                      

The BEARCORE 2018 course Mandatory Sessions will be held weekly on Thursdays (11 am - 1 pm):

March 8, 2018 The Role of the Scientist in the Current Climate
  Disseminating Science to the Public
March 15, 2018 Reproducibility Crisis
  Bad Research Practices
  Research Misconduct
March 22, 2018 Trends in Research and Research Funding
  Sponsored Research – Rights and Responsibilities
April 5, 2018 Conflict of Interest/Conflict of Interest in Research

No class on March 29, 2018 (Spring Break)

The BEARCORE 2018 course Elective Sessions:  offered Mondays and Thursdays, 11 am – 12 pm and 12 pm – 1pm between April 9, 2018 and April 30, 2018. The schedule may be subject to change.

Monday, April 9, 2018 11 am – 12 pm IP/Commercialization in Academia
  12 pm – 1 pm Information/Data we cannot share: Proprietary Information and Export Controls
Thursday, April 12, 2018 11 am – 12 pm Authorship Guidelines/Peer Review
  12 pm – 1 pm Conflict Resolution in Mentor/Mentee Relationships
Monday, April 23, 2018 11 am – 12 pm Responsible Data Management
  12 pm – 1 pm Responsible Data Sharing
Thursday, April 26, 2018 11 am – 12 pm Ethical Issues in Human Subjects Research
  12 pm – 1 pm Ethical Issues in Animal Research

Course Location:                


Course Syllabus:                 
The 2018 BEARCORE syllabus is available here.

Previous course:
The 2017 BEARCORE syllabus is available here.

To register for the BEARCORE 2018 course (full course or refresher course), please fill out the registration form and email it to Rebecca Haworth.

Contact Rebecca Haworth (401-863-2041 of with any questions regarding BEARCORE and RCR training in general. 

Other RCR Training Opportunities  

Training that fulfills the NIH requirements is also offered in the Fall semester through: