Guidance on Submitting NIH, NSF and USDA NIFA Proposals

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Documentation

CSU is committed to providing training in ethics and the responsible conduct of research/scholarly inquiry. New federal statutes now mandate that some proposals document how we deliver such training. The CSU Responsible Conduct of Research Training Program policy describes our institutional approach to meeting federal guidelines. In general, NIH will address the adequacy of your RCR plan through its peer review process, so that grants receiving a fundable score will be retained by the Program Office until the RCR plan (or annual Progress Report) is judged to be meritorious. NSF and USDA NIFA, however, will likely audit universities after grant awards are made, checking that CSU is in compliance with our responsibility to train and track the training of personnel paid on NSF/USDA NIFA accounts.

View the representative examples of excerpts from grants

National Science Foundation (NSF) and US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

There are two sections of the America Competes Act that describe new RCR training requirements.

Section 7008: Mentoring Plans for all postdoctoral fellows. (42 USC 1862o)

Section 7009: RCR Instruction (42 USC 1862o-1)

FAQs about NSF RCR requirements




National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established policy that requires formal, face-to-face RCR instruction to certain types of trainees. (NOT-OD-10-019) The CSU institutional policy has extended that requirement to ALL NIH-funded trainees, regardless of the training mechanism. In addition, the NIH now requires that formal mentoring tools termed "Individual Development Plans" (IDP's) be generated for all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by any NIH funding mechanism. (NOT-OD-13-093 & NOT-OD-14-113) & CSU Policy.

Individual Development Plans (IDP's) for all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Tools and information on developing an individualized IDP are available at: American Association for the Advancement of Science/Science Careers National Postdoctoral Association University of Minnesota

New institutional applications (T15, T32, T34, T90/R90, TL1, K12, or K30):


For renewal (Type 2) applications:

Institutional Reporting:

New Individual Applications

New (Type 1) applications must include a section on instruction in responsible conduct of research, appropriate to the career stage of the applicant (instruction for applicants in the early stages of their careers; participation as course directors, lecturers, or discussion leaders for applicants in middle or senior stages of their careers), as part of the Research Training Plan or Candidate Information and Career Development Plan. This section will document prior participation or instruction in responsible conduct of research during the applicant's current career stage (including the date instruction was last completed) and propose plans to either receive instruction in responsible conduct of research or participate as a course lecturer, etc., depending on the applicant's career stage. Such plans must address the five instructional components outlined above. The plan may include career stage-appropriate, individualized instruction or independent scholarly activities that will enhance the applicant's understanding of ethical issues related to their specific research activities and the societal impact of that research. The role of the sponsor/mentor in instruction in responsible conduct of research must be described.


Where applicable, renewal (Type 2) applications must describe instruction in responsible conduct of research activities undertaken during the past project period as well as future plans in order to meet the frequency requirement as outlined above in Instructional Components.

Individual Reporting:

Continuation (Type 5) applications must report specifically on instruction for the fellow in responsible conduct of research. This report must include subject matter covered, format, frequency and duration of instruction, or indicate when during a previous or future budget period instruction in responsible conduct of research did or will take place. The report should discuss both formal and/or informal instruction in responsible conduct of research and should note the extent to which the sponsor or senior fellow participated in these activities.