Responsible Conduct of Research


In order to meet the institutional obligation to provide RCR training, The University of Iowa has developed a Responsible Conduct of Research Plan under the joint sponsorship and responsibility of the Graduate College and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Students taking an exam

RCR Plan

Training Program

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

Federal Policies (NSF and NIH)





Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Proce​ss

Our current RCR program focuses on four groups specifically engaged in NIH and/or NSF- funded research or other scholarly creativity involving undergraduates, predocs, postdocs and early career faculty holding NIH K-Awards.  For the purposes of RCR education, members of these four groups are designated as trainees

If the trainee is engaged in research that is funded by NIH or NSF (e.g., investigator initiated, career award, fellowship, or training grant), then the trainee must complete the appropriate RCR program described on page 9 of the RCR plan.

Trainees Program Timeframe
Undergraduate and Professional-Degree Students CITI Web-Based Course Trainees may complete modules at their own pace, but must complete the entire course RCR course within the first month of research participation. All elective modules for the selected RCR course should be completed with a score of at least 80.
Predoctoral: Master's-Degree Students* UI Course 650:270 Trainees must complete two workshops per semester, finishing the course within the first year of research participation.
Predoctoral: Doctoral-Degree Students* UI Course 650:270 Trainees must complete two workshops per semester for a total of 8 workshops over 4 semesters, finishing the course within the first two years of research participation.
Postdoctoral: Research Scholars (FP01)* and Research Fellows (FP02)* UI Course 650:604 Trainees are expected to complete two workshops per semester, finishing the course within the first year of research participation.
Early-Career Faculty with NIH K Awards UI Course 650:614 Trainees are expected to complete two workshops per semester, finishing the course within the first year of research participation.

 Training SummaryExx

Expanded summary table


*Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

Click here to review the Graduate College's policies and recommendations for all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers involved in federally funded research.



The National Science Foundation's (NSF) RCR Requirements

NSF logo

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has implemented a new requirement to ensure all undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in NSF-funded projects receive appropriate training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. As of January 2010 institutions must, at the time of proposal submission, formally certify that an RCR training plan is in place and must, as a condition of award, ensure that all participating students and postdoctoral researchers receive the required training. Learn more

NIH logo


The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) RCR requirements

NIH requires that 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 must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.  This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011.  Learn more


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Additional Resources:

How do I sign-up for and complete RCR training?
Trainees are required to complete the appropriate RCR program based on their current university position (undergraduate, predoc, postdoc, or K-Award faculty). Details regarding each training plan are available on page 9 of the  RCR plan and the RCR Training Summary.
Who must receive RCR training?
The National Science Foundation (NSF) expects institutions to be able to verify that those students (undergraduates and graduates) and postdoctoral researchers who receive NSF funds (support from salary and/or stipends to conduct research on NSF grants) will obtain RCR training. However, NSF anticipates that institutions will develop their RCR training programs in a manner that helps prepare the next generation of researchers, including the consideration of risks or other factors associated with student and postdoctoral researcher participation in research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy applies to all NIH Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, Dissertation Research Grants, or other grant programs with a training component that requires instruction in responsible conduct of research as noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Does the RCR training plan have to be in place at the time of proposal submission?
Yes, a RCR training plan must be in place at the time of proposal submission.
Additional details regarding NIH proposals are available here.
Additional Resources:
 "UI Implementation of Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements," presented 12/01/2010 at the Research Administrator's Meeting.


Contact Information:

Questions and comments on the overall RCR Plan or the CITI online training may be directed to: Richard Hichwa, Senior Associate Vice President for Research, 319-335-2106

Questions on the formal course requirements may be directed to: Minnetta Gardinier, Associate Dean for Graduate Recruitment, 319-335-2147