Training Requirements in the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RECR) and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Section 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (42 USC 1862o–1), as amended, requires that each institution that applies for financial assistance from the National Science 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 (RECR) to undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, and other senior personnel supported by the proposed research project. Such training must include mentor training and mentorship. Additionally, instruction in responsible conduct of research is required for all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, Dissertation Research Grants, or other grant programs with a training component that requires instruction in responsible conduct of research (RCR) as noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Note: The most recent NSF Guidance on RECR took effect July 31, 2023.

  • The NSF “Proposal & Award Policies and Procedure Guide” provides detailed information about the assurances required of all grant applicants and award recipients. Background information and details on institutional responsibilities pertaining to RECR are documented in Part II: Award, Administration and Monitoring of Grants and Cooperative Agreements, Chapter IX: Grantee Standards, Part B: Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RECR).
  • Note: NSF’s RECR training requirement also applies to postbaccalaureate researchers supported by an NSF-funded project.
  • 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 must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.
  • The purpose of the NIH “Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research”[3] is to update the agency’s policy on instruction in the responsible conduct of research, to convey some of the consensus best practices that have evolved in the research training community over the past two decades, and to provide access to additional information that may be useful to institutions and individuals in meeting their obligations under NIH policy.
  • This policy and related procedures are designed to assist faculty, postdoctoral, graduate, postbaccalaureate, and undergraduate researchers funded through an NSF grant or an NIH grant with a required training component in completing training in RECR/RCR.
  • Training Participants. Undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, graduate, postdoctoral, faculty and senior researchers who are contributing to an NSF- or NIH-funded research effort as part of a current/active NSF or NIH grant are required to satisfactorily complete a training course. Also, students who receive NSF scholarship support must take the training, if conducting research is included as part of their academic program.
  • NOTE: This training requirement does not apply to S-STEM scholarships or the Noyce program, if there is no expectation of research as part of the academic program.
  • Training Timeframe. PIs are responsible for ensuring researchers, including the PIs and Senior Personnel, supported through their grant(s) complete training at the start of work on the research project and no later than thirty (30) days immediately following the initiation of NSF- or NIH-funded research.
  • After the grant has started, PIs should notify the Research Compliance Officer (RCO) of any new personnel anticipated to receive salary or stipend (or scholarship) from such a grant.
  • Training Methods. Researchers are required to complete the training available through the CITI Program [4] online training modules. Researcher can register for the program by affiliating with the University of Akron in CITI, and adding the appropriate Responsible Conduct of Research course. Note: NIH training requirements may vary.
  • Instructions for Researchers – Completing the RECR/RCR Training Requirement. The faculty researcher will direct trainees to use the online tool. Trainees should register for the CITI Program. 
  • TRAINING ADMINISTRATIONThe RCO will inform PIs of this training in RCR/RECR requirement during the pre-award/proposal preparation process. Personnel listed on the grant, when submitted, will receive an email instruction for completion of the training, if Just-In-Time or Award notice is received.  Personnel shall complete the training within 30 days of the award being received by the University of Akron.  The RCO will also check in bi-annually with the PI and Post-award office, to determine whether additional personnel are receiving support from the grant.  Such personnel will be required to take the RECR training.
  • NSF Policy

    NSF RECR Policy

    NHI RCR policy

    CITI Training Online