Responsible Conduct of Research

Columbia is dedicated to the highest standards of research integrity and is committed to responsible and ethical conduct for all those involved in research. Several federal funding agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), require certain individuals participating in projects funded by those agencies to receive training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). 

orange bar

The National Science Foundation requires training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for all students and postdocs supported by NSF projects.  The requirement applies to all undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are funded by NSF projects submitted (and subsequently awarded) on or after January 4, 2010, including competitive renewals. 

Principal Investigators are responsible for assuring that all postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates who are funded by their NSF projects submitted (and subsequently awarded) on or after January 4, 2010, complete RCR training. The Office of Research Compliance and Training coordinates the collection and maintenance of compliance information, including identification of affected individuals, collection of training completion data, and reporting to PIs and DAs. 

Options for satisfying the NSF RCR training requirement are available here

To view the University Plan for Fulfilling NSF RCR Training Requirements, click here.  For a list of Frequently Asked Questions, click here.  To read the announcement sent to PIs on December 18, 2009, regarding the new NSF RCR requirements, click here. For other questions, contact the Office of Research Compliance and Training at

The National Institutes of Health require training in the Responsible Conduct of Research for 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, or other grant programs with a training component that requires instruction in RCR as noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.  The NIH recently updated the RCR training requirement. The updated requirement applies to all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and to all continuation applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. For details, review the NIH Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research.

To satisfy the NIH RCR training requirement, some in-person training is generally required; on-line RCR training by itself is not sufficient.  Students in the College of Physicians and Surgeons are generally required to attend a one-semester course on responsible conduct of research.  For short-term training and research education programs (such as those lasting six or fewer months), on-line training is generally sufficient.  Click here for training options.

Senior fellows and career award recipients (including F33, K02, K05, and K24 awardees) may fulfill the requirement for RCR instruction by participating as lecturers and discussion leaders.  Contact the Office of Research Compliance and Training for information.