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)
- Each proposal that contains postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such
individuals. The mentoring plan must not exceed one page.
- Mentoring activities may include career counseling, training in preparing grant applications, guidance on ways to improve teaching skills, and training in research ethics.
- In addition, all progress reports for research grants that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a description of the mentoring activities provided
to such researchers.
- Samples of plans may be found here (hyperlink).
Section 7009: RCR Instruction (42 USC 1862o-1)
- CSU PIs are currently in compliance with Section 7008 by virtue of the establishment of the CSU institutional RCR training program.
According to the CSU policy, PIs must require RCR instruction for all undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows who are paid salary on the NSF/USDA NIFA grants.
Additionally, CSU policy requires faculty, research scientists, and research associates funded by USDA NIFA to take RCR training. No additional actions are needed at the
time of grant submission; nor are additional progress report actions needed.
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
- All graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by any NIH funding mechanism shall have an IDP to reference in NIH progress reports submitted on/after October 1, 2014.
- Grantees shall report on the usage of IDP's annually in the RPPR as outlined in NOT-OD-14-113.
- IDP's do not need to be submitted to the NIH or CSU, but shall remain on record with the trainee and mentor.
New institutional applications (T15, T32, T34, T90/R90, TL1, K12, or K30):
- Must include a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research. The plan must address the five instructional components, and the plan must describe how
participation in instruction in responsible conduct of research will be monitored. The following may be used
- Format: Trainees will receive face-to-face instruction in a CSU Provost-approved RCR course
- Subject matter: Trainees will receive instruction in 1)Ethics and social responsibility in research; 2) Conflict of interest; 3) The use of
animal/human subjects and safe laboratory practices; 4) Mentor/mentee responsibilities; 5) Collaborative research; 6) Data acquisition, management, sharing, and
ownership; 7) Research misconduct; 8) Responsible authorship, publication and peer review; 9) Financial management and responsibilities
- Faculty participation: Formal courses are taught by tenure-track or tenured faculty who do research and teaching within various departments at CSU.
Faculty contributing to RCR instruction will have discipline-specific expertise in humanities, social sciences, physical sciences or life sciences, as appropriate.
One-on-one faculty mentoring will also be provided. Enhanced mentoring will be promoted through "training the trainer workshops" and access to the CSU online
RCR Resource Center.
- Duration of instruction: Formal instruction in an approved RCR course will entail 16-45 contact hours, over one semester. Mentoring will be ongoing
throughout the career of the trainee.
- Frequency of instruction: Formal training will occur at least once at each training stage, and/or every 4 years of training.
- Must include a plan for monitoring.
- The Director of the Research Integrity & Compliance Review Office RICRO) shall monitor RCR instruction. All trainees will be required to take an institutional RCR online
training course and a face-to-face, CSU-approved, formal RCR course, and their participation will be tracked and verified by RICRO.
For renewal (Type 2) applications:
- Must, in addition, describe changes in formal instruction over the past project period and plans for the future that address and weaknesses in the current instruction in
RCR. All training faculty who served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders during the past project period must be named in the application.
- Continuation (Type 5) applications must describe the nature of the instruction in responsible conduct of research and the extent of trainee and faculty participation as
required in the PHS 2590. This report must include a description of any enhancements and/or modifications to the five instructional components from the plan described
in the awarded application. Specific training faculty members who were contributors to formal instruction in responsible conduct of research during the last budget period
must be named.
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
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.
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.