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45.21 – Responsible Conduct of Research Training


  • Position: Office of Research Assurances Director
  • Email:

Last updated: August 31, 2023

A. Purpose. This policy establishes requirements for the training of individuals at the University of Idaho to conduct research with honesty and based on established professional norms and ethical principles.

B. Scope.

B-1. This policy applies to certain individuals conducting research on projects funded by the following entities:

1. the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”),

2. the National Science Foundation (“NSF”),

3. the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food Agriculture (“NIFA”), and

4. other entities that require training on how to conduct research with integrity.

B-2. All individuals engaged in research at the University of Idaho, regardless of the source of funding, are encouraged to complete the training described in this policy.

C. Definitions

C-1. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. (National Institutes of Health, Notice Number NOT-OD-10-019) [ed. 4-18]

D. Policy

D-1. General Requirements. RCR training is required for certain individuals conducting research on projects funded by NSF, NIH, and NIFA as outlined below. All individuals engaged in research at the University of Idaho are encouraged to complete RCR training.

D-2. NIH-funded project requirements. RCR training is required for trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving NIH support through:

a. A training award, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant.

b. Projects that require RCR training as stated in the funding opportunity announcement or grant terms.

c. The following programs: 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.

D-3. NSF-funded project requirements. RCR training is required for the following individuals on all NSF funded grants: undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars. Beginning July 31, 2023, faculty and senior personnel on proposals submitted or due on or after that date are also required to take RCR training.

D-4. NIFA-funded project requirements. RCR training is required for the following individuals on all USDA NIFA-funded grants: program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project. The following programs are currently exempt from the NIFA RCR training requirement: Formula Funded programs, the 1890 Facilities Program, and the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

E. Procedure

E-1. General training procedures. RCR training may be completed either online or in person (but see section E-6 for NIH online training restrictions). The online or in-person seminars fulfill the RCR requirements for NSF- and NIFA-funded projects.

a. Online training. Online training is provided through the University’s membership to the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program ( Instructions on how to register for or access CITI through the University may be found here. ORA maintains individual training records in CITI.

b. In-person seminars. In-person seminars are offered every fall and spring semester by the ORA. The schedule for the seminars is posted on the Responsible Conduct of Research website at the beginning of each semester. ORA maintains individual attendance records for the seminars.

E-2. Additional training resources. Depending on the nature of the research being conducted, additional training in RCR related topics may be required. Such additional training may include animal care and use, general biosafety, biosafety cabinet, select agent, hazardous waste management, human participants in research, radiological safety, chemical hygiene plan, general lab safety, and so forth.

a. Ethics course. In addition to the seminars, an ethics class is offered on campus that covers ethical conduct of research principles which fulfills NIH’s in person training requirements. For information on current courses offered, please contact the College of Graduate Studies or the Office of Research Assurances.

b. Other sources. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers receive mentoring from faculty in the RCR; such mentoring is an obligation of every PI at the University. Elements of RCR training are also incorporated into required and elective courses at the University. Face-to-face classes are offered on campus that cover principles of the ethical conduct of research. For information on current courses offered, please contact the College of Graduate Studies or the Office of Research Assurances.

E-3. PI responsibilities

a. Ensuring training. The PI on a project is responsible for ensuring that all required persons on the project complete RCR training. The PI is also responsible for determining the amount of additional RCR training appropriate for individuals.

b. Training documentation. The PI is responsible for keeping records of RCR training for their project. Training records shall be kept according to the grant or project record retention requirements. Training records are subject to review upon request by the funding agency.

E-4. Certification. The University shall certify on proposals submitted to NSF, or other agencies as required, that the University has an RCR training plan that aligns with the agency’s requirements. Training documentation and the RCR training plan are available for review upon request by the agency.

E-5. Authority of PI to require training. A PI may require RCR training for persons working on a research project even if the funding agency does not require it. The PI should work with the individuals or leave it to their discretion to determine if the training will be completed via CITI or in-person. It is the responsibility of the PI to maintain RCR training records of the individuals on their project. The PI may contact ORA for verification of in-person or CITI trainings completed.

E-6. NIH requirements. For NIH projects that require RCR training (see section D-3), the PI must include an RCR training plan with the grant proposal. Online instruction alone is not acceptable for an NIH RCR training plan. An acceptable training plan generally involves at least eight contact hours between trainees/fellows/scholars/participants and the participating faculty. The RCR training plan will be evaluated by NIH as part of the peer review process. The PI is responsible for implementing the training plan and maintaining all documentation pertinent to the training plan.

E-7. NSF Requirements. A discussion of how PIs provide RCR training to their students and postdoctoral scholars is required for the Public Outcomes Report required by the NSF.

F. Contact Information

Office of Research Assurances (ORA)

Phone: 208-885-6162


G. Related University Policies

Faculty-Staff Handbook:

Administrative Procedures Manual:

Version History

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119