Responsible Conduct of Research Statement


The purpose of this document is to inform researchers of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) requirements for training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), to outline how the University of Notre Dame will comply with these new requirements, and to provide links to resources for faculty and staff for internal and external RCR-related training and material.

The responsible and ethical conduct of research is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in social science, science and engineering, and is considered essential to the preparation of future scientists and engineers. The University of Notre Dame is committed to creating an environment that promotes responsible conduct in research and fosters integrity within the research community.

Implementation Date

As of January 4, 2010, RCR training is required for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows who receive NSF funds (support salary and/or stipends to conduct research on NSF grants). For NIH, this policy will take effect with 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 Notice 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.

Institutional Responsibilities

  1. An institution must have a plan in place to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.
  2. While training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF, institutions are advised that they are subject to review, upon request.
  3. An institution must designate one or more persons to oversee compliance with the RCR training requirement.
  4. Institutions are responsible for verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research have received training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

Who will this training affect?

  1. The NSF RCR training requirement applies to paid and unpaid undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF awards. This also applies to research projects and students working with equipment and in laboratories supported by NSF.In addition to new awards, NSF requirements pertain to any renewal as of January 4, 2010.
  2. The NIH requirement is specific to all undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training and Methods

RCR education at the University of Notre Dame comprises on-line training for NSF awards and face-to-face training seminars for NIH awards. The following topics are examples of the substantive content of RCR:

  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Mentor/Mentee Responsibilities and Relationships
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Collaborative Research
  • Research Misconduct and Policies for Handling Misconduct

Please note that the CITI RCR courses are separate from the CITI course modules available for Human Subjects training, required for all personnel involved in human subjects research. The RCR courses may not be used to satisfy ND’s requirements for training in Human Subjects.

The CITI modules provide a certification of completion when the student or postdoctoral researcher completes the course and passes the test. A record of the student’s or postdoctoral researcher’s certification is maintained in the CITI database and the Director of Compliance.

How will training be delivered?

  1. For NSF awards, RCR training will be accomplished by using the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) RCR training course available through the Office of Research Compliance website at: CITI training module will include a test at the end of the course, which will be used to assess the competency of the student or postdoctoral researcher.The CITI RCR training modules will be tailored to the following discipline specific areas of research:
    • Social and Behavioral
    • Physical Science
    • Humanities
    • Engineering
  2. Students and post doctoral researchers receiving NIH sponsored training and career awards are required to attend at least once RCR training seminar during each career stage and at a minimum, every four years. Notre Dame provides several approaches that may satisfy NIH’s in-person training requirement:
    • Through the Graduate School’s Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research Seminar, NIH’s RCR requirement may be met. Beginning Fall 2010, this course will be offered once a semester. Additionally, RCR and ethical conduct of research will be administered to all students in the Graduate School’s orientation.
    • Several departments and institutes currently provide intensive in-person RCR training seminars for their students. These types of personalized courses are encouraged and they may satisfy the NIH RCR training requirement.
    • The Office for the Vice President for Research (OVPR) will also provide adaptable and intensive in-person training seminars on RCR. These seminars are intended to be responsive to the timing and substantive needs of the student.


The Director of Research Compliance is responsible for verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF/NIH research sponsored projects have completed training in the responsible ethical conduct of research. Students will be contacted upon notification of the NSF and NIH awards and they will be instructed on the best approach to completing RCR training. For NSF, notification will include instructions on how to complete the on-line RCR training. For NIH training awards, students will be notified of the most convenient in-person seminar for satisfying RCR training.

Students who fail to comply with the training requirements within 60 days of award notification may be excluded from working on NSF and NIH sponsored projects.

How to Complete the CITI RCR Training

The internet-based education approach, CITI, is the core approach to satisfying NSF’s requirement and it is used to certify and monitor adherence to University and federal guidelines in the training of RCR. This training module may be found at the web site:

To access the CITI Courses, registration of a username and password on the CITI website is required. The username and password you choose will not be shared with anyone at Notre Dame.

Each RCR topic consists of an introduction, basic foundation text, imbedded case studies, and quiz questions.

After creating your login to the CITI program, you will be asked to choose the course and enroll in a Learner Group that is compatible with your interests and training requirements. The program will automatically select the modules you are required to complete.

Follow the instructions and links on the Learner’s Menu to begin the course you selected. Use the “View/Update your Learner Group” link on the Learner’s Menu to select or change groups.

You do not have to complete the course in one session. A minimum aggregate score of 80% is required to pass the RCR course.


University of Notre Dame
Office of the Vice President for Research
Responsible Conduct of Research Statement
January 13, 2010