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NSF’s New Training Requirement for Faculty & Senior Personnel

Published July 31, 2023 via Research News

In the January release of the annual Proposal Preparation and Award Guide, the National Science Foundation (NSF) expanded its Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training requirements to include faculty and all senior personnel, effective July 31, 2023. This expansion maintains the RCR training requirements already in place for students, postdocs, and other trainees.
To meet this new requirement, Washington University has updated the NSF COMPETES Compliance Plan and developed a new, high-level Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research online training for faculty and staff. This self-paced training takes about 15 – 20 minutes to complete and is a one-time requirement.
Faculty (new NSF requirement)
Faculty currently paid by NSF funds will receive an automated Learn@Work email that the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research online training was assigned. Any faculty newly paid by NSF funds will be automatically assigned the course.
Staff Listed as Senior Personnel (new NSF requirement)
Staff listed as senior personnel must self-register for and complete the training. Automatically assigning training to this population is not possible due to the variability of staff job types designated as senior personnel.
Students, Postdocs, Other Trainees (no change to NSF requirement)
Complete the in-depth PERCSS online training, even if listed as senior personnel.
These updated RCR training requirements take effect for proposals submitted on or after July 31, 2023. It is recommended that all faculty and staff working on an NSF grant complete the training for the new NSF requirement as soon as possible to be in compliance for any future proposals.

Personnel Type Paid by NSF Funds*Online RCR Course RequiredFace-to-Face Hours RequiredEffective Date
FacultyResponsible and Ethical Conduct of Research
(automatically assigned)
NoneJuly 31, 2023
Staff Listed as Senior PersonnelResponsible and Ethical Conduct of Research
(must self-register)
NoneJuly 31, 2023
Postdocs, Graduate Students, Undergraduate students, Other TraineesProgram for the Ethical and Responsible Conduct of Science and Scholarship
(automatically assigned)
1 hour each project year

Exception: Undergraduate students paid by an NSF project for less than 3 consecutive months
January 4, 2010

*NSF funds include any salary or stipend paid directly from the NSF or via flow through funding (e.g. NSF to Duke to WashU)
Department Administrators:
This course has been added to the WU Compliance Training for Researchers Learn@Work report. Instructions on running or scheduling this report are available on the Trainings for Researchers page. This report will capture faculty, students, and postdocs automatically assigned RCR training.
Because RCR training cannot be automatically assigned to staff listed as senior personnel, departments are encouraged to create a monitoring plan to ensure compliance for this group.
For More Information
See the WashU plan and procedures to comply with NSF COMPETES requirements.
Contact with any questions.