Responsible Conduct of Research Training
Training in the responsible conduct of research is critical to ensure integrity of data and results, to prepare future scientists, and to foster public trust in academic research. Section
7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in
Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (PL 110-69) 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 to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.” (NSF 10-1 January 2010; AAG Section IV B). In response to this requirement, the NSF published a revision to the NSF Proposal & Award Policies and
Procedures Guide (PAPPG) requiring that beginning January 4, 2010, institutions must certify, at the time of proposal submission, the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who participate in NSF-funded projects.
Responsible conduct of research (RCR) training is essential to producing the best scientists and researchers for the future. Weber State University (WSU) is committed to promoting excellence and maintaining integrity in all its research activities through the ethical conduct of its faculty and students. To further this commitment, WSU implements an institutional plan for RCR training to ensure that all faculty and students supported by sponsored funding in any field of research understand the widely accepted set of ethical and professional standards for conducting research.
According to the NSF, “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.” As noted in the NSF PAPPG Chapter II.C.1e, institutional certification to this effect is required for each proposal. Training plans are not required as part of a proposal submission, but are subject to review upon request and audits are to be expected.
“The institution must identify the persons responsible for overseeing compliance with the
RCR training requirement and must verify that appropriate training was provided.”
“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.”
RCR Training Plan
WSU will meet the NSF requirements for RCR training by requiring all students supported by sponsored projects to receive and participate in RCR training. Support in the context of this plan means salary support received from external sponsors. However, the time spent by a WSU researcher or student for RCR training may not be charged directly to an award. WSU implements RCR training through the following approach:
All students will complete an online training course provided by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative at the University of Miami (CITI) for RCR based upon their field of research. This training must be completed within 30 days after award activation and/or after they are hired on a continuing research project. A completion certificate must be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Projects.
The Office of Sponsored Projects and Compliance, through the research compliance officer, is designated as the unit responsible for overseeing and documenting institutional compliance with the NSF RCR educational requirements.