University of Vermont

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NSF Responsible Conduct of Research Training Requirement 

For Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

New NSF Requirement

Effective January 4, 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires that institutions have 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 will be supported by NSF to conduct research. 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. NSF formally implemented the new RCR requirement via an update to the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) where it currently resides. The requirement does not apply to funding amendments on awards made prior to that date. Therefore, if an award was made before January 4, 2010 and a supplement was awarded after that date, the RCR requirement does not apply.

UVM's Plan for Meeting the NSF Requirement

Principal Investigators are responsible for overseeing training activities and verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates receive RCR training. Such training should be provided before the trainee leaves the project OR within the first 6 months of their involvement in the project, whichever comes first.  Training only needs to be successfully completed one time. Principal Investigators, therefore, must indicate how training will be provided and document that training has occurred. The following steps must be taken in order to meet this requirement.

  • Before a new NSF award can be activated, SPA will request from the Principal Investigator the following information
  • Whether the award will provide support for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers or not.
  • If yes, the Principal Investigator must indicate which of the three methods will be followed to provide the required RCR instruction.
  • RCR Training Methods may include:
    • Completion of CITI Modules (satisfies the minimum requirement)
    • Completion of CITI Modules augmented with lab discussions, readings, or other materials
    • An alternative plan such as enrollment in a UVM course, seminars provided within the lab or a different on-line offering
Principal Investigators must keep records of such training and provide them to SPA if requested.

Additional NSF RCR Resources

Last modified May 05 2016 10:33 AM

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