45.21 – Responsible Conduct of Research Education

January 4, 2010

A. Introduction. The University of Idaho (University), its faculty, students, and staff recognize that the responsible and ethical conduct of research is essential to furthering the research mission of the University, maintaining the integrity of scientific research, and ensuring continuing public trust in the results of scientific research. Commitment to the responsible conduct of research at the University is reflected in the educational program that faculty, students, and staff engaged in certain scientific research are required to complete and in the on-going provision and oversight of this training by the University.

B. Definitions.

B-1.Responsible conduct of research (RCR) is defined as the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. National Institutes of Health, Notice Number NOT-OD-10-019.

C. Policy.

C-1. This policy sets forth the institutional framework for RCR education at the University and constitutes the institutional plan required by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for institutions receiving grant funding from these entities. Any individual who is required by the terms of an award to complete an educational program in RCR must complete the training course appropriate to the funding source.

C-2. Effective January, 2010, the NSF (January 4, 2010) and the NIH (January 25, 2010) require RCR training for the following:

NSF Requirements (ORA maintains links to pertinent government agencies):

  • The 2007 America COMPETES Act directs NSF to require all undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars funded by an NSF grant submitted or due on or after January 4, 2010 to take RCR training.
  • RCR training must be certified by the institution to NSF. Training documentation and the RCR training plan must be maintained by the institution and available upon request from NSF.

NIH Requirements (see ORA website):

  • NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant receive instruction in RCR. This requirement applies to all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. This RCR instruction requirement applies to the following programs: 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. It also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in RCR as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.
  • An RCR training plan must be submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) to NIH as part of the Grant Proposal for each award type and program indicated above. Submitted RCR training plans will be evaluated by NIH as part of the peer review process. The PI is responsible for the implementation of the training plan and maintenance of all documentation pertinent to the accepted plan.

D. University of Idaho RCR Training Plan for NSF/NIH-supported Activities.

D-1. UI Plan to Meet NSF Requirements (RCR Training Seminar). The University has developed a two-hour RCR Training Seminar (Seminar), with classroom and online instruction, that is required for all undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers funded by NSF grants submitted on or after January 4, 2010. This Seminar is required once during each individual’s participation on an NSF funded project. In the event that a student/researcher later works on a different NSF project, this Seminar does not need to be repeated.  UI encourages all research students to include this Seminar in their course of studies. This Seminar has been certified by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for the University, and OSP will maintain documentation pertinent to NSF RCR training activities.

The RCR Training Seminar provides a review of regulations, policies, resources, and contact information for:

  • Research misconduct
  • Conflict of interest and commitment
  • Research ethics
  • Human participants in research
  • Animal welfare
  • Biosafety research
  • Export control
  • Data acquisition, sharing, management, and ownership
  • Mentor/mentee relationships
  • Research collaborations
  • Publication practices and responsible authorship

The Seminar also explores ethical decision making considerations through video and case study scenarios.

The University of Idaho requires any PI who receives an NSF award to identify to OSP all students and postdoctoral scholars receiving payments under the award. OSP is responsible for maintaining training records for the Seminar. PIs are also responsible for determining the amount of additional RCR training appropriate for each individual. Records for additional training are to be kept by the PI. A discussion of how PI’s provide RCR training to their students and postdoctoral scholars will be required in the new Public Outcomes Report required by the NSF.

Although the Seminar constitutes the core of formal responsible research training with respect to NSF awards, undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers also receive mentoring from faculty in the RCR; such mentoring is an obligation of every PI at the University. Elements of RCR training are also incorporated into required and elective courses at the University. Additional training in RCR topics is, depending on the nature of the research, required; such required training may include Animal Care and Use training, General Biosafety training, Biosafety Cabinet training, Select Agent training, Hazardous Waste Management training, Human Participants in Research training, Radiological Safety training, Chemical Hygiene plan training, General Lab Safety training, etc.

D-2. UI Plan to Meet NIH Requirements (RCR Course). The University has developed a one-credit, sixteen-session course in RCR that is required for all trainees, fellows, and participants receiving support on NIH grants that require RCR training. The RCR Course (Course) curriculum covers the same core competencies as the RCR Training Seminar and may be substituted for it. Trainees, fellows, and other non-faculty participants receiving support on NIH grants requiring RCR training must participate in and complete all sixteen (16) sessions of the Course in order to satisfy their NIH RCR training obligations. Scholars (faculty) are required to attend at least 8 of the 16 sessions to fulfill their NIH RCR training obligations.

The Course includes faculty-led sessions, extensive case studies, and a curriculum covering all suggested NIH core competencies, including:

  • Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  • Conflict of interest: personal, professional and financial
  • Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  • Collaborative research including collaborations with industry
  • Peer review
  • Data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership
  • Responsible authorship and publication
  • The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

Additional areas covered in this course:

  • Fiscal management
  • Ethical decision making
  • Export controls
  • Biosafety

For a copy of a current course syllabus please contact The College of Graduate Studies.

E. Contact Information.

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
Phone: (208) 885-6651

Office of Research Assurances (ORA)
Phone: (208) 885-6162

College of Graduate Studies (COGS)
Phone: (208) 885-6243

F. Related University Policies.

Faculty-Staff Handbook:

Administrative Procedures Manual:

Office of Sponsored Research Administrative Procedures Manual Policies