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National Science Foundation (NSF) Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Requirement Policy and Procedures

As of January 4, 2010, all grant applications to NSF must certify that the institution has a plan, “to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.”

NSF RCR Training Requirement

With the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and the Research Board, OSPR established a subscription with an online resource, Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), to provide access to training in RCR core areas.

Principal Investigators (PIs) are responsible for not only overseeing and mentoring their students and researchers in the responsible and ethical conduct of research, but also for ensuring that all undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by their NSF awards are successfully completing the designated modules of the online course.

The following procedures for complying with the NSF RCR Training Requirement apply to all NSF supported projects that were applied for on or after January 4, 2010:

  1. PIs are responsible for directing all undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by their NSF awards to successful complete the CITI RCR training course within 30 days of commencing work on the project.
  2. The CITI course can be accessed from any computer. Once there participants click on “Register” under “Create an Account”, then select “Clark University” for your organization affiliation, and complete the required registration information.
  3. Under “Select Curriculum” participants will be given five choices:
    • Human Subjects
    • RCR Basic Curriculum
    • RCR Basic Curriculum + Human Subjects
    • RCR Basic Curriculum + Animal Subjects
    • RCR Basic Curriculum + Human and Animal Subjects

Note: All courses include a “refresher course.” It is recommended that you take a refresher course if you have completed any of the required courses within the last three (3) years. After three (3) years, it is recommended that you complete the full course requirement.

Participants should select the RCR Basic Curriculum to complete if human subjects and animal subjects are not a part of their NSF sponsored work. If human subjects and/or animal subjects are a part of their NSF sponsored work, they should choose the curriculum that includes the relevant material(s).

  1. Once participants have completed their registration and course selection, they will be required to complete course modules and pass quizzes in the following RCR core areas: research misconduct, data acquisition/management/ownership, publication practices and responsible authorship, peer review, mentor and trainee responsibilities, conflict of interest, and collaborative research – in addition to human subjects and/or animal subjects were applicable. Optional case studies on the required material are available during the online course.
  2. Successful completion of the course is estimated to take between four and six hours. The course does not need to be completed in one sitting. Participants may log out at any point and return at a later time to complete the course.
  3. OSPR will receive confirmation of the participant’s successful completion of the course directly from CITI. PIs should also maintain a record of their students’/researchers’ successful completion of the training.

Please do not hesitate to contact OSPR with any questions on the RCR requirement, the CITI program, or any of the above procedures.

Contact Information

Sponsored Programs and Research

  • Geography 300 and 300A
    Clark University
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610
  • Lisa Gaudette, Director
  • 1-508-421-3835
  • lgaudette[at]clarku[dot]edu