RCR Training Guidance

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is required by some federal agencies for individuals involved in sponsored projects, and NC State has an institutional obligation to ensure compliance in a timely manner. The information included below describes who is required to take RCR training and how to enroll.

Who is required to complete RCR training?

RCR training requirements vary by federal sponsor. All individuals required to complete RCR training by federal sponsor regulations will automatically receive an email notification with details and instructions about how to enroll in and complete the training. For students, research assistants, or others interested in enrolling in the training on a voluntary basis, please email rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu for more information.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requires that all individuals participating in a NIFA funded-project complete RCR training once every three years. This  includes:

  • Program directors, faculty members, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff involved in designing, conducting, or recording research

All individuals affected by the NIFA RCR training requirement are appointed a six week time frame to complete the training by default. Renewal of RCR training is required for all individuals participating in or receiving funds from a NIFA project. There is very limited flexibility with regards to assigned deadlines or extensions. Please contact the RCR Administrator at rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu immediately if there are concerns about ability to complete the required training by the deadline date.

The NIH requires the following individuals to complete RCR training:

  • 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 (For a full list of programs to which NIH’s RCR training requirement applies, please visit the Graduate School’s RCR website.)

Online RCR training by itself is not considered sufficient to fulfill NIH’s requirement. Individuals affected by this requirement must complete in-person RCR training. Please contact Laura Demarse at ledemars@ncsu.edu for information regarding in-person RCR training and seminar opportunities offered at NC State.

The NSF requires the following individuals to complete an approved form of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training once every three years:
  • Any undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoctoral researcher who has received National Science Foundation (NSF) funds
  • Any NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student who receives any amount of funds or a stipend from an REU project. All REU students are strongly encouraged to enroll.

Please be aware that REU students are recorded in and compensated by a system that bypasses the standard RCR procedure and workflow. Therefore, the RCR Administrators do NOT receive notification about new REU students. If a PI has REU students, we rely on them and/or their college to email us so that we know to enroll said students in RCR training as needed. If you have REU students, please email rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu a list of the following information so the RCR Administrators know to enroll them in RCR training:

  • First and Last Name of all REU students
  • Unity IDs of all REU students
  • REU Program Start and End Dates (for all REU students, if different)
  • Name of Investigator supervising the students
  • Grant # from which the students are being paid (if applicable)
  • Name of Home Institution for all non-NC State REU students
  • Home Institution Email Addresses for all non-NC State REU students

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My Status has Changed

In order to be in compliance, the individuals who have been notified of the training requirement are still required to meet the RCR training requirement including those who:

  • Have not completed the training within the last three years
  • Are no longer actively working on a NSF or NIFA project
  • Are no longer receiving funds from a NSF or NIFA project
  • Are about to graduated or have graduated who previously worked on a NIFA project
  • Are retired/emeritus status who previously worked on a NIFA project

Other individuals who received notification of the training requirement and may be required to complete RCR training include those who:

  • No longer are employed by NC State
  • Serve as co-instructors of an RCR course

Email the RCR Administrator at rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu to confirm.  

If you are still unsure if the RCR training requirement applies to you or if you believe an error has been made, please email the RCR Administrator at rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu as soon as possible.

What content is covered by RCR training and how do you enroll?

The primary source of RCR training for individuals who are required to complete it at NC State is the CITI Program’s RCR course, a self-paced online course offered through the CITI Program’s website. Individuals affiliated with NC State may enroll free of charge. The topics included are authorship, collaborative Research, conflicts of Interest, data management, mentoring, plagiarism, peer review and research misconduct. 

It is recommended that you plan to set aside approximately ten hours total, but many people are able to complete the course much more quickly. The course can be completed at your convenience so long as the full course is completed by the required deadline included in your RCR training email notification. If you cannot locate your deadline date, please email the RCR Administrator at rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu.

Enroll in a CITI RCR Course
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Are there other options for RCR Training?

With the RCR Administrator’s approval (rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu), there are alternative options to meet the RCR training requirement. For a list of NC State courses approved to fulfill this requirement and for information on how to receive credit for these courses, visit RCR Courses.

As a reminder, the CITI RCR course is the primary form of RCR training at NC State for individuals seeking to fulfill the NSF/NIFA requirement. CITI courses other than the RCR course are not considered approved forms of RCR training and do not meet the requirement.

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How often and by when must RCR training be completed?

RCR training is only valid for three years from the date of completion. Renewal of RCR training is required for all individuals participating in or receiving funds from a NSF or NIFA project.

If notification has been received to complete RCR training for a NSF or NIFA project, you must complete it by your assigned six week due date. The RCR Administrator has very limited flexibility regarding assigned deadlines, and this requirement cannot be deferred to a later semester. The university has an institutional obligation to ensure that those affected by these agency requirements complete RCR training in a timely manner.

Those who voluntarily enroll in RCR training are also given six weeks for completion; however, an extension may be granted. Voluntary enrollees are urged to delay enrollment, if possible, until they are available to complete the course in the allotted time frame.

If you have any questions, concerns about your ability to complete the training on time, or cannot locate your deadline date, please email the RCR Administrator at rcr-administrator@ncsu.edu.

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