Dear NSF Researchers,
If you plan to submit an NSF proposal on or after July 31, 2023, please read this message carefully.
Congress has mandated a new training requirement in responsible and ethical conduct of research (RECR) for all NSF-funded faculty and senior personnel. This message contains important information about how to meet this new requirement.
What is the new RECR training requirement?
In 2022, Congress mandated that faculty and senior personnel supported by NSF must complete RECR training. This training requirement has applied to NSF-funded undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs since 2010. Congress has mandated that RECR training for faculty and senior personnel must include training on mentoring and mentorship. Other topics include: safeguarding intellectual property, authorship and publication, research misconduct, and peer review. RECR training need be completed only once; there is no refresher training requirement.
How am I affected?
If you are listed as faculty or senior personnel on an NSF proposal due on or after July 31, 2023 and the proposal is awarded, then you must complete RECR training before the award can be set up. If you do the training now, you will avoid delays when your next NSF project is awarded. This requirement does not apply to proposals for conferences, symposia, workshops, or travel. Finally, this requirement does not apply retroactively to projects submitted and awarded before July 31.
How do faculty and researchers fulfill the RECR training requirement?
You may complete the RECR training requirement through the Rascal Training Center, Course No. TC7000. There are nine relatively brief modules. It is not necessary to complete all modules in one session, but the modules must be completed in sequence. There are quizzes at the end of most modules. Including the time needed to read through the material, we estimate that completing all the modules will take around 2.5-3 hours. If you are very familiar with the material, you have the ability to skim and scroll to the quizzes. If you need help navigating to the training, please review the step-by-step instructions posted on the Research Compliance and Training website.
How will this requirement be communicated to faculty and researchers?
The Office of Research Compliance and Training (RCT) will assign the training in Rascal to any identified faculty, senior personnel, postdoc, or student supported by NSF. This means that the training will appear automatically in the My Training To-Do List, in the Rascal Training Center. In addition, over the next several months, RCT will send regular reminders to NSF faculty and senior personnel who have not completed RECR training. At award setup, Sponsored Projects Administration will confirm that all faculty and senior personnel named in the proposal have completed RECR training and will inform those who have not completed RECR training that they must do so. The award will not be set up until all faculty and senior personnel named in the proposal have completed the training.
Will you hold award set-up until students and postdocs complete RECR training?
No. Award set-up will only be held until faculty and other senior personnel named in the proposal complete the training. The Office of Research Compliance and Training has a separate process for students and postdocs.
Responsible and ethical conduct of research is important.
We know that researchers must complete many administrative and compliance responsibilities, and mandatory RECR training adds to this burden. However, the topics covered in these trainings are essential to the integrity of the research process. Researchers can take advantage of the opportunity to review the same materials as their students and postdocs. This shared understanding of the fundamental principles and norms that underly our work will help promote a cohesive research environment.
Questions regarding the NSF RECR requirement may be directed to the Office of Research Compliance and Training, 212-854-4261, or [email protected]. Information is also available on Columbia’s Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research webpage.
Jeannette M. Wing
Executive Vice President for Research
Professor of Computer Science
Naomi J. Schrag
Vice President for Research Compliance, Training and Policy
Anderson P. Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Director for Research Compliance Education