RCR FAQ

What is Rice University's RCR training requirement?

Rice University requires training in RCR for all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars,whether or not they are funded on NSF-sponsored grants, as well as undergraduate students supported on NSF sponsored projects submitted (and subsequently awarded) on or after January 4, 2010.

What is the NSF RCR training requirement?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires training in RCR for all undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars supported on NSF sponsored projects submitted (and subsequently awarded) on or after January 4, 2010. Please note that Rice University requires all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to take the training whether or not they are funded on NSF-sponsored grants.

Who is affected by the new requirement?

All undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are funded by NSF projects submitted (and subsequently awarded) on or after January 4, 2010, including competitive renewals, are required to complete RCR training. Additionally, NSF and Rice University strongly suggests Principal Investigators (PIs)and other key staff involved in sponsored research projects to complete RCR training. Therefore, Rice University requires that all graduate students and postdoctoral scholars participate in the training.

Does the requirement apply retroactively?

No, students and postdocs funded on projects submitted before January 4, 2010, regardless of when they are awarded, are not required to complete RCR training.

What is required?

Beginning January 4, 2010, each university receiving NSF funding is responsible to implement a "plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers." All NSF applications filed on or after January 4, 2010, will include a certification to this effect. Additionally, Rice University is obligated to verify that individuals have received the required training.

Should I add a description of RCR training in my NSF proposals?

No, it is not necessary to include additional language to NSF proposals. All NSF applications will automatically include the RCR terms and conditions.

What are the PI's responsibilities?

PIs are responsible for ensuring that all affected undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars complete RCR training. The Office of Sponsored Research will track those who have completed RCR training through the CITI online training course and will share that information with the PI.

Is the University required to submit its training plan or evidence of compliance in progress reports or other communication with the NSF?

No. However, training plans and appropriate verification of training compliance must be available upon audit.

How can students and postdocs receive RCR training?

RCR training should be completed through an on-line course available through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), a nationally-recognized source for research-related training.

What topics are covered in RCR training?

Typical topics covered include data management and data sharing,research misconduct, conflict of interest, collaborative science, responsible authorship, mentoring, peer review, laboratory animals, and human subjects.

Can departments offer their own RCR training? Who would need to review it?

Departments may train individuals through previously-established or newly-created training options with approval from the Office of Sponsored Research. Contact osr-training@rice.edu for further information and requirements.

If an individual has previously completed an RCR course elsewhere, do they need to retake the RCR training offered through CITI in order to fulfill the NSF requirement?

Not necessarily. Individuals who have previously completed one of the CITI RCR courses are not required to repeat it for purposes of fulfilling the NSF requirement provided they have adequate documentation that they have taking comparable training elsewhere.For further questions, email osr-training@rice.edu.

Can an individual receive credit for taking RCR training at another institution?

In general, individuals who have previously completed RCR training at another institution (other than CITI RCR training) are required to complete one of the RCR training options at Rice.

When must training be completed?

RCR training should be completed within sixty (60) days of when the individual begins work on the project. In an individual is working on an NSF project for a short period of time, such as the summer, RCR training must be completed before the individual's work on the project ends.

How will compliance be monitored?

The Office of Sponsored Research coordinates the collection and maintenance of compliance information, including identification of affected individuals, collection of training completion data, and reporting to PIs.