Requirements for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
As illustrated in the NOT-OD-10-019 accessible within the NIH Requirements for Instruction in Responsible Conduct of Research, the policy and requirements apply to all NIH Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, Dissertation Research Grants, or other grant programs with a training component that requires instruction in responsible conduct of research as noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement. More information on NSF requirements on RCR instruction can be found in the NSF's Grantee Standards Guide.
Per Weill Cornell Medicine policy, the RCR course is mandatory for all graduate students of Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences and for all post-doctoral scholars at Weill Cornell Medicine, independent of their funding source. This is a strong commitment of Weill Cornell Medicine as a research institution dedicated to promoting the value of the responsible conduct of research within its community of graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. As a result, WCM requires a formal RCR course that is designed to meet all NIH and NSF requirements.
Goals of the RCR Course
- Heighten the awareness of trainees to ethical considerations relevant to the conduct of research;
- Inform trainees of federal, state, and institutional policies, regulations and procedures applicable to the ethical conduct of research; and
- Provide trainees with the opportunity to discuss, in a relatively informal setting, with senior faculty and among their peers, the implications of these policies and procedures for their own behavior in a research environment.
The RCR course is a tri-institutional program between Weill Cornell Medicine, Sloan Kettering Institute, and The Rockefeller University. The course is organized and run by Sloan Kettering Institute. The course website is:
In order to provide formal training in research integrity and to satisfy the RCR course requirements, participants must complete 8 hours of in-person sessions (1 large-group orientation session of 2 hours, and 3 small-group live sessions – each of 2 hours in length) and complete 9 online modules with exams. The online RCR course consists of 3 modules of 3 topics each. “Rigor and Transparency” will be addressed in a mandatory additional 3-hour module, thereby extending the RCR course to 11 hours of in-person time. Signed rosters are maintained by RCR course directors to document attendance. Attendees are provided a certificate of attendance upon completion of the course.
RCR Subject Matter
The RCR instruction covers all of the following topics as defined by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research Integrity.
- Research Misconduct (with Whistleblowing and Dispute Resolution)
- Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing, and Ownership (including Enhancing Reproducibility) and Safe Laboratory Practices
- Animal Welfare
- Use of Human Subjects
- Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
- Authorship and Responsible Publication Practices
- Peer Review
- Collaboration and Mentoring
- The Scientist and Social Responsibility and Export Control
- Rigor and Transparency
RCR Faculty Participation
The small-group session facilitators include junior and senior faculty members from the three sponsoring institutions (Weill Cornell Medicine, Sloan Kettering Institute, and The Rockefeller University), as well as senior administrators whose responsibilities include research compliance or integrity, all of whom serve as role models in this training.
RCR Frequency of Instruction
RCR training is mandated for 1st and 5th year graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, and all other trainees who are federally funded from NIH Training Grants (T32, T34, R25) or Career Awards (F, K series), among others. Fifth-year graduate students and trainees have the option to either take the RCR course again or act as a facilitator for the course.
Important Notes Regarding Course Completion
- The course must be completed within one semester. (For instance, an individual may not start the course in the fall and finish it in the spring.)
- Failure to complete the RCR course within a single semester will require taking the course again in its entirety.
For a letter of support for grant application, please contact Dr. Randi B. Silver.