Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

NIH requirements | NSF requirements | NIFA requirementsRCR Programs at BrownRCR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | Contact

Brown University is committed to fostering an environment of research integrity, in part through Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training and education.

“[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)

Projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) have specific requirements regarding training in RCR. Please note that RCR training is separate from human subjects training required for Institutional Review Board (IRB) submissions.

Read on below to determine if you or a trainee on your sponsored award must complete RCR education and the required format for instruction. Please also note that some departments require Ph.D. students to complete RCR training prior to graduating. Check with your department.

 NIH RCR Requirements

All trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training grant, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant must receive instruction in RCR. 

This applies to the following NIH award types:

  • D43, D71
  • F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, F99 
  • 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 
  • And any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.

Frequency of Instruction​

  • NIH requires that reflection on RCR recur throughout a scientist’s career: at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels. 
  • Institutional training programs and individual fellows/scholars are strongly encouraged to consider how to optimize instruction in RCR for the particular career stage(s) of the individual(s) involved.
  • Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years.
  • It is highly encouraged that initial instruction during predoctoral training occur as early as possible in graduate school.  
  • Individuals at the early career investigator level (including mentored K awardees and K12 scholars) must receive instruction in RCR at least once during this career stage. 
  • Senior fellows and career award recipients (including F33, K02, K05, and K24 awardees) may fulfill the requirement for instruction in RCR by participating as lecturers and discussion leaders in one of Brown's RCR Programs.  
  • To meet the above requirements, instruction in RCR may take place, in appropriate circumstances, in a year when the trainee, fellow or career award recipient is not actually supported by an NIH grant.  

Brown University RCR Programs that fulfill NIH RCR Requirements
Click here for a list of RCR programs at Brown that fulfill NIH RCR requirements.​

Responsibilities for PIs on NIH Awards with RCR Requirements
PIs on NIH awards with RCR requirements have a number of responsibilities, including developing an RCR instructional plan and ensuring those required to complete RCR training have done so. Click here for more information about PI Responsibilities and Resources. Click here for  instructional plan templates for grant applications.

More information regarding this NIH requirement can be found in NIH Notice Number NOT-OD-10-019

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NSF RCR Requirements

Effective July 31, 2023, NSF is changing its requirements for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training.

Specifically, for grants submitted for funding to NSF on or after July 31, 2023, all individuals participating in the NSF funded research will be required to complete RCR training. This includes PIs, Co-PIs, senior research personnel, postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students. 

Brown University RCR Programs that fulfill NSF RCR Requirements
The NSF requirement can either be fulfilled via one of the courses of instruction [list of courses of instruction] or via completion of the CITI online course in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Brown strongly recommends that students and trainees, who are supported by NSF sponsored projects and who have not had any prior RCR training, complete one of the above-referenced courses of instruction instead of the CITI module. 

RCR Responsibilities for PIs on NSF Awards
PIs on NSF awards are responsible for ensuring that they and all other personnel, including students and trainees, on their award complete RCR training. Please see our NSF PI responsibilities and Resources page for additional information.

More information about NSF requirements can be found on the NSF RCR website

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NIFA RCR Requirements

NIFA requires that institutions that conduct USDA-funded extramural research foster an atmosphere conducive to research integrity, bear primary responsibility for prevention and detection of research misconduct, and maintain and effectively communicate and train their staff regarding policies and procedures.  All Program Directors, faculty, students, postdocs, and staff participating on an NIFA-funded award must comply with NIFA's RCR requirement.

NIFA explicitly cites the CITI RCR training as an acceptable means of satisfying its training requirement. As such, while NIFA-awardees may attend an in-person Brown RCR Program (if space allows), Brown encourages NIFA awardees to use the CITI RCR module to fulfill the NIFA RCR requirement.

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Questions about RCR at Brown?
  • Have any questions about RCR requirements?
  • Need to verify who has completed the CITI RCR course?
  • Want to participate as an instructor in an RCR course to fulfill an RCR training requirement or to help Brown fulfill its obligation to include faculty in its courses?
  • Need assistance developing a course that meets NIH RCR requirements or would like ORI to spread the word about your qualifying RCR course?
  • Need a subject matter expert from the ORI to talk about conflict of interest, human or animal subject research, data use / sharing, rigor & reproducibility, or research misconduct as part of a class or as part of an RCR course?


Juliane Blyth, Director
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (401) 863-3295

Contact the Office of Research Integrity (ORI)
Telephone Number: (401) 863-3050
South Street Landing (SSL), 5th floor
350 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903​