Office of Research, UC Riverside
Office of Research Integrity

Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements

What is Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR)?magnifyingGlass

IN GENERAL: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. Please note that this training is separate from human subjects training required for IRBs.

HOWEVER, projects funded by NIH, NSF, NIFA have SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS regarding training in RCR - They vary by funder and role on the study.

What units on Campus are involved in RCR training?

The Office of Research and Economic Development (RED) and the Research Ethics Education Program (REEP) have developed an Institutional Plan to Meet Federal Requirements for Training and Oversight in the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research.

Do I have to complete RCR training?

UCR strongly encourages all students and faculty to complete RCR training. However, if you are working on a project funded by NIH, NSF or NIFA it is likely that you must complete some training. See below for details.

What are the training requirements for specific funding agencies?

The following is a snapshot of main federal funding agencies that have requirements for RCR. See the headings below or click the links for more detailed information regarding the agencies and the requirements associated with them.

Federal Funder

Minimal Requirement for RCR

Target Audience (who must do the training)





8 hours of
face-to-face training/interaction

Trainees, fellows, scholars, participants


*Training must be undertaken at least once during each career state and at a frequency no less than once every 4 years

*See the program list of grants/awards below


On-line or face-to-face training

Graduate students,
Post-doctoral researchers



On-line or face-to-face training

Program Directors, faculty, undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers,
any staff

*Includes faculty training

For NIH, the requirements for such training apply to all NIH Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, and Dissertation Research Grants. The programs are listed as:

D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, 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.

Where do I obtain the required training?

UCR's REEP website provides information about available RCR education and training opportunities and resources on campus, as well as links to relevant federal and institutional policies. If you have NSF or NIFA funding and meet one of the roles in the Target Audience column above, you can complete the CITI RCR training by clicking "REGISTER", typing "RIVERSIDE", accepting the terms, continuing to step 2, then using your UCR email address. If you have NIH funding and meet one of the roles in the Target Audience column above, contact REEP to arrange for in-person training.

Where can I find more information regarding RCR?

A wide array of resources and information exists to help inform RCR training for UCR researchers. For example, Office of Research Integrity offers a monthly seminar series that deals with topics in humans subjects research and compliance. Also, many professional societies and governmental licensing authorities have adopted policies or best practices that might be usefully considered.

Whom can I contact?

If you need to arrange for in-person RCR training, or are interested in templates for tracking traning, contact:
Dena Plemmons, Ph.D. | Director, Research Ethics Education Program
Associate Professor | The Graduate Division | University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave Riverside, CA 92521 | University Office Building RM 133
Phone: 951-827-4312 | Email: |

If you need to request information regarding online training and requirements, contact:
AVC Charles Greer in the RED office (

Additional Information Regarding RCR


The guidance states:

While on-line courses can be a valuable supplement to instruction in responsible conduct of research, online instruction is not considered adequate as the sole means of instruction. A plan that employs only online coursework for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be considered acceptable, except in special instances of short-­term training programs..., or unusual and well-­justified circumstances.

Guidance from NIH goes on to state:

"Instruction should involve substantive contact hours between the trainees/fellows/scholars/participants and the participating faculty. Acceptable programs generally involve at least eight contact hours. A semester-­long series of seminars/programs may be more effective than a single seminar or one-­day workshop because it is expected that topics will then be considered in sufficient depth, learning will be better consolidated, and the subject matter will be synthesized within a broader conceptual framework."


The NSF also requires training in RCR for any undergraduates, graduate students, or postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research. NSF guidance states that

"each institution is responsible for the content requirements of its RCR training program, and the frequency with which such training must occur. NSF understands that some institutions would like NSF guidance about content for training in responsible conduct of research. However, NSF believes that the research community, encompassing both individual researchers and institutions, is best placed to determine the content of RCR training without a need for NSF specified standards. Furthermore, NSF recognizes that specific training needs may vary depending on specific circumstances of research or the specific needs of students intending to pursue careers in basic or applied science after completing their education. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each institution to determine both the content and the delivery method for the training that will meet the institution’s specific needs for RCR training in all areas at that institution for which NSF provides support. Furthermore, each institution must decide if development of content or pedagogical method is required, or if appropriate content and training can be provided from some existing sources or capabilities, and take appropriate action to implement their decisions.


The NIFA requirements note that

"The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering. Consequently, education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future scientists. By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training are subject to NIFA review upon request.

Note that the training referred to herein may be either on-campus or off-campus training. The general content of the ethics training, at a minimum, will emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration and reporting misconduct. Each institution will be responsible for developing its own training system, as schools will need flexibility to develop training tailored to their specific student needs. Grantees should consider the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for RCR ( Typically this RCR education addresses the topics of: Data Acquisition and Management - collection, accuracy, security, access; Authorship and Publication; Peer Review; Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities; Collaboration; Conflict of Interest; Research Misconduct; Human Subject Research; and Use of Animals in Research."

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