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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

December 30, 2009

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute promotes the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and provides training to uphold high standards of ethics and accountability in planning and implementing research projects, and disseminating research findings. RCR training is overseen and implemented by the Associate Vice President of Research in Rensselaer’s Office of Research.

As of January 4, 2010, NSF requires appropriate RCR training of post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates who receive financial support from NSF grants. To implement this new federal mandate, Rensselaer will require that all of the aforementioned NSF-supported researchers complete at a minimum the appropriate discipline-specific web-based RCR courses offered by CITI, the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative https://www.citiprogram.org. Rensselaer is a member of CITI. Currently, all members of Rensselaer’s compliance committees (IRB, IACUC, ICB, ISCRO), and participants in Rensselaer’s NIH training grants are required to complete CITI courses.

While completing an appropriate CITI course meets NSF RCR training mandates, researchers are encouraged to review additional materials on responsible conduct of research and to participate in additional seminars, workshops, and/or courses offered by Rensselaer’s Graduate School, the Archer Center, or individual departments.

CITI RCR courses

Rensselaer faculty, staff and students can take CITI courses free of charge. Each RCR course consists of an introduction, foundation materials, case studies, and quiz questions. It is not necessary to complete a course in one session; you can save and exit at any time and resume taking the course later. In order to pass a course, a minimum aggregate score of 80% is required.

The following discipline-specific courses are offered:

  • Physical Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities

NSF-supported post-docs, graduate and undergraduate students should choose one course in a discipline most suitable to their research. CITI will record and certify successful completion of a course and provide a training certificate. The certification is valid for three years and will cover all NSF grants that require ethics training for the duration of the certificate. CITI will keep the Office of Research informed of all successfully competed courses.

Administrative Procedures

After January 4, 2010, the Principal Investigators of new NSF grants are required to ensure that all affected personnel have taken one of the CITI RCR courses before they begin working for the grant or within the first two months of beginning to work for the grant. If a post doc, graduate student, or undergraduate student has not completed the RCR course within this timeframe, they will be removed from the NSF grant.

Prospective NSF post-docs, graduate students and undergraduates are strongly encouraged to take the CITI RCR training course before they begin working on an NSF grant.

Instructions for CITI registration

  1. Go to https://www.citiprogram.org
  2. As a “new” user, you will click “Register Here” to register
  3. Select “Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute” from the “Participating Institutions” list
  4. Create a unique “username” and “password”
  5. Enter your first and last name
  6. Enter your RPI email address
  7. Click “Submit”

After logging in under your username and password, click on “Update my profile information” and fill in all required fields (give your RIN number under “Employee Number”). All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Additional online materials and resources:

NSF Beta Sites for Resources on Ethics Education in Science and Engineering

Other relevant online resources:

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