Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

Rice University is strongly committed to creating and fostering a community of scholars engaged in the highest caliber of research and scholarship. Accordingly, the University and all of its constituencies including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, staff and students are committed to the common goal of developing and sustaining an environment where academic scholarship embracing the tenants of academic freedom and free scholarship may be undertaken.Rice’s mission is to conduct cutting edge research in an environment where the ethical conduct of research is held paramount. The University has a long history of developing policies and practices that reinforce this need.

As members of the Rice University community, all faculty have the responsibility for sustaining the highest ethical standards of the institution, and of the research and academic communities in which they are members. Rice faculty also take seriously their responsibility of mentoring postdoctoral scholars in their transition to independent academic careers. The Rice community is engaged in preserving and maintaining collegiality, investigative curiosity, and the responsible conduct of all aspects of scholarship including research and teaching. The University is committed to preserving the trust placed in it by members of the Rice community as well as those it serves and those to whom it owes fiduciary and stewardship responsibilities.

In its effort to maintain the highest standards of integrity in research and scholarship, Rice University is dedicated to providing its students, postdoctoral scholars and others participating in the research enterprise with the training that will enable them to carry out their research and professional activities in a manner that reflects the values of honesty, accuracy, objectivity, and efficiency that lie at the core of research integrity. Training and education in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is one aspect of Rice’s commitment to maintain the highest standards for research integrity among its research community, including undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

The expectation for all individuals engaged in research at Rice is that they will have a clear understanding and suitable training relevant to their research in the following areas:

  • the roles and responsibilities of the mentor and trainee;
  • the ethical conduct of research;
  • research misconduct;
  • responsible authorship and publication;
  • data acquisition and laboratory tools; management,sharing and ownership;
  • conflicts of interest: personal, professional, and financial;
  • animal subjects in research;
  • safe laboratory practices including issues pertaining to collaborations with industry;
  • understanding the peer review process;and
  • contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research and the environmental and societal impact of scientific research.

NSF RCR Training Requirements and Plan

Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act 1 requires that “…each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation (NSF) for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.”

Effective January 4, 2010, all new awards funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF) require undergraduate, graduate,and postdoctoral researchers, and any other key personnel participating in the sponsored research project to complete an approved course in the responsible conduct of research. Although principal investigators (PIs) are not required to complete RCR training, Rice University strongly encourages them to do so.2

To comply with NSF regulations pertaining to RCR training,undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and other key staff must complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Responsible Conduct of Research online course. For instructions on completing the CITI training, click here.

Those students and scholars being paid by NSF-funded researchawards must provide evidence that they have satisfactorily completed the CITI training prior to receiving payment. Although Rice is responsible for ensuring that researchers and scholars are properly trained in the responsible conduct of research, the Principal Investigator (PI) must create an environment which supports the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

NIH RCR Training Requirements and Plan

If you are a trainee, fellow, participant, or a scholar supported now or in the future by funds received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) using career development awards (K-series individual or institutional), research education T-series grants, and NRSA awards (F series), you must complete the CITI Responsible Conduct of Research online course and the academic course UNIV 594 focused on RCR or participate in another form of approved in-classroom training.

Rice’s Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering plays a key role in providing integrated biomedical research training programs,including training on the responsible conduct of research.

For additional information and requirements related to acceptable in-classroom RCR training for NIH awards, click here.