Responsible Conduct of Research(RCR)

As a university community of scholars, it is important that our research and scholarship is conducted and shared with integrity and in compliance with ethics in research.  The Office of Research promotes research integrity, compliance and quality research within the University community.  This is achieved partly through education and training programs provided on research involving human subjects and animals.  Federal requirements require Responsible Conduct of Research training for research funded by NSF, NIH and USDA.    

Beginning January 1, 2014, the Office of Research will be requiring all students involved in sponsored research to complete a tutorial in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) available at AU RCR-Training.  Currently required for Honors students and students involved with NSF funded research, this requirement will be extended to students receiving support through internal Faculty Research Grants, Undergraduate Research Scholar awards, and Graduate Research Assistantships, as well as externally funded research.

RCR: Shared Values:


“There is no one best way to undertake research, no universal method that applies to all scientific investigations.  Accepted practices for the responsible conduct of research (RCR) can and do vary from discipline and discipline and even from laboratory to laboratory.  There are, however, some important shared values for the responsible conduct of research that bind all researchers together, such as:

            HONESTY           conveying information truthfully and honoring commitments,

            ACCURACY        reporting findings precisely and taking care to avoid errors,

            EFFICIENCY       using resources wisely and avoiding waste, and

            OBJECTIVITY     letting the facts speak for themselves and avoiding improper



                                                                                                            -Nicholas Stencek


Mandatory Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

Undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers whose research is funded by the NSF, NIH, and USDA must complete the RCR training.

NSF—requirement that beginning with proposal submitted on or after January 4, 2010, all undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers “supported by National Science foundation (NSF) to conduct research” receive training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).

NIH—required that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH— training career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.

USDA— Effective for awards subjects to the February 2013 Research Terms and Conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has mandated that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researcher, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR).  Any award issued after February 1, 2013 must comply with this requirement.

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