Each department is responsible for training in Responsible Conduct of Research outside of the CITI Program online. 

Responsible Conduct of Research – Training Requirements by Agency




Who needs RCR training?

All NIH intramural researchers who have direct and substantive involvement in proposing, performing, reviewing, or reporting research, or who receive research training, are required to participate in ongoing RCR instruction. This includes:

  • Senior Investigators;
  • Tenure-Track
  • Investigators;
  • Students (undergrad/ grad)
  • Staff Scientists and Clinicians;
  • Emeritus Researchers;
  • Research and Clinical Fellows;
  • Pre- and Post-doctoral Fellows, including Visiting Fellows;
  • Technicians;
  • Research Nurses;
  • Contractors; and
  • Special Volunteers or Guest Researchers involved in these activities.

All faculty, staff (including classified & wage) and other senior personnel, undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are supported by the proposed NSF research project.

Program directors, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project.

When should RCR training take place?


*JMU requires RCR training completion PRIOR to 1st day of employment

Existing policy and guidance call for RCR instruction to be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years. As institutions consider how to optimize the timing and delivery of instruction in the responsible conduct of research, they are encouraged to bear in mind the value of ongoing and discipline-specific training as individuals progress in their research careers.

The institution's plan for training should specify when individuals are to receive the training. NSF allows an institution to determine the frequency of RCR training.

USDA-NIFA does not specify a timeframe within which RCR training must be completed.

What subjects must be included?

NIH has identified topics that have been included in most acceptable RCR instruction plans. (See below)

NSF allows the institution to determine the content of RCR training, acknowledging that training needs may vary depending on the circumstances.

As of July 31, 2023, training must include mentor training and mentorship.

The general content of the ethics training will, at a minimum, emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration, and reporting misconduct.

How much training is required?

NIH notes that acceptable RCR training programs generally involve at least eight contact hours.

No minimum requirements; NSF allows institutions to determine the duration of RCR training.

No minimum requirements; USDA-NIFA does not specify a required duration for RCR training.

How should RCR training be delivered?

NIH specifies that RCR training must include a face-to-face component; online training alone is insufficient.

No minimum requirements.

At JMU, the requirement is online through CITI Program.

USDA-NIFA does not specify any required RCR training methods. Training can be delivered in a face-to-face setting, or through online resources.


FY 2022 Updated Guidance: Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (Notice Number:

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Training in Responsible Conduct of Research – A Reminder of the NSF Requirement

Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG)

RCR Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

2 CFR Part 422 -- Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconducts

National Institutes of Health

* For NIH, the requirements for such training apply to all NIH Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, and Dissertation Research Grants. The programs are listed as: 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.


NIH: Discussion-based instruction is expected to remain a key feature of RCR training and to include substantive face-to-face interaction among participants and faculty. However, recognizing that advances in video conferencing now allow for effective “face-to-face” discussions to occur electronically, institutions may wish to consider incorporating video conferencing options into their RCR instruction, provided that those options are utilized in a way that fosters discussion, active learning, engagement, and interaction among the participants. At the same time, video conferencing should not be the sole means for meeting the requirement for RCR instruction, and a plan that employs only video conferencing will not be considered acceptable, except in the circumstances described in NOT-OD-10-019, such as short-term research training and research education programs.

The NIH goals of RCR education and training are to:
  • Develop, foster, and maintain a culture of integrity in science;
  • discourage and prevent unethical conduct;
  • empower researchers to hold themselves and others accountable to high ethical standards;
  • increase knowledge of, and sensitivity to, ethical issues surrounding the conduct of research by researchers with diverse backgrounds;
  • improve the ability to make responsible choices when faced with ethical dilemmas involving research;
  • provide an appreciation for the range of accepted scientific practices for conducting research;
  • inform scientists and research trainees about the regulations, policies, statutes, and guidelines that govern the conduct of U.S. Public Health Service-funded research and promote compliance with the same; and,
  • promote a career-long positive attitude toward research ethics and the responsible conduct of research.
The NIH subject matter of RCR training and education includes:
  • conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial – and conflict of commitment, in allocating time, effort, or other research resources
  • policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  • safe research environments (e.g., those that promote inclusion and are free of sexual, racial, ethnic, disability and other forms of discriminatory harassment)
  • collaborative research, including collaborations with industry and investigators and institutions in other countries
  • peer review, including the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security in peer review
  • data acquisition and analysis; laboratory tools (e.g., tools for analyzing data and creating or working with digital images); recordkeeping practices, including methods such as electronic laboratory notebooks
  • secure and ethical data use; data confidentiality, management, sharing, and ownership
  • research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  • 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 

Back to Top