Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

NIH requirements / NSF requirements / RCR Programs at BrownResearch Ethics Resources / RCR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) / Rigor and Reproducibility Resources and Training

Responsible and ethical research behavior of researchers and research institutions has historically relied on a system of self-regulation based on shared ethical principles and commonly accepted practices. In response to a rising number of cases of questionable research practices at major research institutions in the 1980s, the Institute of Medicine noted in a report in 1989 that “instruction in the standards and ethics of research is essential to the proper education of scientists.” In subsequent years, both the NIH and NSF implemented requirements for certain grant programs to provide training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

NIH RCR Requirements

All trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grant, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant must receive instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).  More information regarding this NIH requirement can be found here.  

Responsibilities for NIH PIs

Additional information, guidance, instructional plans, and templates are located here.

NIH’s Policy on Rigor and Reproducibility

More information on NIH’s new Rigor and Reproducibility requirements can be found here

NSF RCR Requirements

The NSF requires certification that Brown has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who receive NSF support to conduct research. Certification of University compliance is done by an authorized Brown University representative as part of the institutional proposal approval process. More information about the NSF requirements can be found here.  

Responsibilities for NSF PIs

Additional information, guidance, instructional plans, and templates are located here.

Questions or Assistance

Please contact us if you…

  • Have any questions about RCR requirements;
  • Would like assistance developing a course that meets NIH RCR requirements or would like ORI to spread the word about your RCR course; or
  • Need a subject matter expert from the Office of Research Integrity to talk about conflict of interest, human or animal subject research, or research misconduct as part of a class or as part of an RCR course.