Interim Policy on Responsible Conduct in Research

Interim Policy on Responsible Conduct in Research

Effective January 2010, and pursuant to the 2007 America COMPETES Act the National Science Foundation requires that institutions applying  for financial assistance from the NSF must have a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to students participating in the proposed research project.  The plan must also include a system to verify that the training has occurred. The plan does not have to be submitted with proposals, but NSF could request it at any time – and NSF could audit compliance. Principal Investigators (PIs) have the primary responsibility for training the students involved in their NSF-funded research. Acceptance of an award indicates that PIs agree to participate in appropriate RCR training.

RCR (Responsible Conduct of Research) training will be required for all students receiving wages,  working as volunteers, or receiving academic credit for participating in federally-funded research.  RCR training will be documented on a form developed by the Research Office for that purpose, signed by both the PI and the student and which will be archived by the Research Office in Academic Affairs. RCR training will include the following components:

a) Each student must successfully complete the appropriate Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)* module of RCR training. This requirement can be waived for students who have successfully completed an RCR workshop designed to satisfy NSF’s training requirement. Successful completion will be documented by attaching to the RCR form a certificate generated by the online training program or by other documentation.

b) PIs will certify on the RCR form that the student has received RCR training appropriate to the research and discipline.

c) PIs will give the Research Administrator periodic updates listing the students participating in the research. The Research Administrator will facilitate this process by sending reminder emails to all faculty who are PIs on grants at the beginning of each semester and before summer research begins.

Training Plan
On receipt of the notice of a federal research award, Academic Affairs’ Office of Research shall schedule a meeting with principal investigator faculty in order to:

  • review the interim policies on Misconduct in Research, Conflict of Interest, Responsible Conduct in Research, and Intellectual Property.
  • determine investigators’ understanding of responsible conduct in research as it pertains to the specific funded project and field of inquiry and arrange, if necessary, training through CITI (the Collaborative Institution Training Initiative).
  • discuss and schedule training of students and collaborators on the general principles of responsible conduct within two weeks of the commencement of any project (curricular or extra-curricular).   All students shall be required to take the Social and Behavioral Sciences RCR Course on-line via the CITI modules specific to science, medical, or engineering disciplines as necessitated by the nature of the project. The costs of training will be funded by the College.
  • discuss and schedule, if necessary, a meeting with General Counsel to discuss the interim policies or regulatory obligations.

If funded research is to take place in the context of a course, the syllabus will include an introduction to responsible conduct in research during the first two weeks of the course and will note the on-line training described above, or the appropriate RCR workshop, as a course requirement.

A bibliography and links to resources for further investigation of the topic, e.g. the NSF sponsored website, will be provided on the syllabus.

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