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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Training in responsible and ethical research practices is an integral part of preparing academic professionals to conduct research. Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have requirements for training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).

NIH Requirements

For NIH, the requirements for such training apply to all NIH Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, and Dissertation Research Grants. The programs are listed as: 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.

Additional instruction/training is required by NIH; as they state:

“While on-line courses can be a valuable supplement to instruction in responsible conduct of research, online instruction is not considered adequate as the sole means of instruction. A plan that employs only online coursework for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be considered acceptable, except in special instances of short-term training programs..., or unusual and well-justified circumstances.”

Guidance from NIH goes on to state that:

“Instruction should involve substantive contact hours between the trainees/fellows/scholars/participants and the participating faculty. Acceptable programs generally involve at least eight contact hours. A semester-long series of seminars/programs may be more effective than a single seminar or one-day workshop because it is expected that topics will then be considered in sufficient depth, learning will be better consolidated, and the subject matter will be synthesized within a broader conceptual framework.”

NSF Requirements

The NSF also requires training in RCR for any undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research.

Responsible Conduct of ResearchTraining  

RCR training generally includes coverage of scientific misconduct, research subjects (animal or human), conflict of interest, collaboration, data management, mentoring, peer review, authorship, publication, and social responsibility.

Effective (November 1, 2015) CITI responsible conduct of research training will replace the current SDSU tutorial and ​be the only accepted training certificate for new and continuing investigator certification. 

Access the instructions below for information about which courses to take and how to create or update your CITI account to include your SDSU affiliation.


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SDSU Opportunities for RCR

Click here for SDSU Resposible Conduct of Research opportunities

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For More Information

The Division of Research Affairs is available to help PIs craft a relevant training program for their NIH trainees.

Division of Research Affairs

Gateway Center, 3rd floor

San Diego State University
5250 Campanile Dr.
Mail Code 1933
San Diego, CA 92182

Phone: 619-594-5938
Fax: 619-594-4109