The University of California is committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity in research across all levels of the organization, as set forth by UC policy. See also the UC Office of Ethics, Compliance & Audit Services Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline, and the Responsibilities for Conduct & Administration of Research section of the Research Policy Library.
Among the most important responsibilities undertaken by a faculty member when he or she serves as Principal Investigator (PI) or Lead Researcher (LR) on a research project is that of the scientific integrity of the project. If students, postdoctoral scholars, or other personnel perform work on the project, the PI/LR must ensure that these study team members have received proper training and education in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
Federal research sponsors have implemented regulations requiring that training in RCR is provided to study personnel as a condition of certain awards, although it is expected that robust training in RCR should routinely be provided to all students, postdoctoral scholars and research personnel regardless of the funding source.
Training in RCR
UC Irvine Online RCR Training
Training in the responsible conduct of research at UC Irvine is available through the UC Learning Center. Log in using your UCInetID, then search for RCR. When you have completed the training, documentation will be recorded within the system.
UC Irvine Graduate Level Course in RCR
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics 250 Responsible Conduct of Research is a graduate level course that covers all the subject areas in which NIH requires training. It also satisfied the NIH's requirement for face to face interactions.
NSF Proposal Plans for Postdoctoral Scholar and Student Mentoring in RCR
Each proposal requesting funding to support postdoctoral researchers submitted to the National Science Foundation requires a description of the mentorship, RCR training and oversight activities planned for such individuals. Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices. The proposed mentoring activities will be evaluated as part of the merit review process under the Foundation's Broader Impacts merit review criterion. Proposals that do not include a separate section on mentoring activities within the Project Description will be returned without review. We have created a customizable RCR mentoring plan boilerplate, suitable for the NSF-required proposal section.
National Institutes of Health’s Bioethics Resources
The NIH Department of Bioethics website provides links for those interested in bioethics education, research involving human participants and animals, medical and health care ethics, and the implications of applied genetics and biotechnology.
Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty
Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty is an instruction manual for investigators preparing to establish their own laboratories. It is a comprehensive document with 13 chapters including how to secure a faculty position, staffing and operating a laboratory, mentoring, time and project management, funding opportunities, publications and intellectual property. The Guide was developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund for an intensive training course. UCI has been given approval to provide this to our faculty and postdocs for non-commercial use.
DHHS Office of Research Integrity RCR Resources
The federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) website contains numerous educational resources and products. Visit this site periodically as more universities contribute to the inventory.
RCR Courses and Additional Resources for RCR Training
A selected list of resources for training in research ethics or the responsible conduct of research (RCR) was developed for UC Irvine and is available for individuals, courses, and workshop discussions: Options for RCR Training.
Sponsor Requirements for RCR Training
National Science Foundation (NSF) Requirement for RCR Training
As a recipient of National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, UCI must comply with Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act, which mandates training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) for students and postdoctoral fellows who receive NSF funds (either stipends or salary support). The NSF has prepared Frequently Asked Questions regarding its RCR policy. UCI has developed an online training module, accessible through the UC Learning Center, that will satisfy the NSF requirement. The system will record information about individuals who complete the training under their UCInetID logon. The NSF also requires that Principal Investigators describe their RCR training plans in proposals, as well as verify whether training plans for postdocs and graduate students have been carried out for each year of projects where this requirement is relevant.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Requirement for RCR Training
Applicants for National Institutes of Health institutional training grants are required to describe formal and informal activities related to instruction on RCR as part of their proposal. The RCR program should provide instruction in scientific integrity and/or the responsible conduct of research. Programs should include instruction in: conflicts of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, secure and ethical data use, data acquisition and analysis, mentor-mentee responsibilities and relationships, safe research environments, collaborative research, and peer review. NIH also endorses a discussion of the topics from a trainee and institution perspective. Applications without RCR plans are considered incomplete. Note that the NIH requires substantial face-to-face training, therefore the online module alone will be insufficient to meet the NIH training grant RCR requirement. Video conferencing can be used to augment not supplant face-to-face training.