Responsible Conduct of Research

Continuing RCR Education Requirement

Created 01/04/2009
Revised 05/10/2010

NSFThe WUSTL NSF COMPETES Compliance Plan requires that all ALL qualifying individuals EXCEPT undergraduate students paid from the NSF project for less than three (3) consecutive months meet the continuing education requirement of at least one face-to-face education session each fiscal year.

It is the responsibility of schools, departments, and programs in receipt of NSF funds to:

1. Provide education or referrals to appropriate programming

2. Ensure programming meets certain criteria
To qualify as continuing RCR education, educational programming must:

  1. Be at least one hour in length
  2. Provide live instruction and/or discussion by qualified individuals (such as Washington University faculty, experienced researchers, or recognized experts)
  3. Be discipline and career-level appropriate for the individual. Whenever possible, individuals should utilize programming provided by their department, school and/or program. Suggested formats include case study reviews, discussion groups, journal clubs, etc.
  4. Be sponsored by either a Washington University school, department, or educational program or a reputable external entity (such as a professional association or a Washington University affiliate organization)
  5. Contain appropriate content. Sessions must cover a topic or topics specifically related to conducting research responsibly/ethically (sessions that cover ethical/moral issues not specifically related to conducting research do not meet the requirement)
  6. Provide proof of attendance (sign-in sheet, certificate of completion, etc.)

For questions regarding whether or not a program meets these qualifications, please email information on the program in question to

3. Track continuing RCR education
Schools, departments, and programs in receipt of NSF funds must:

  1. Collect documentation and maintain records of educational content and proof of attendance for each session attended by a qualifying individual
  2. Submit attendance records within 30 days of each session

For instructions and to submit records, complete the NSF COMPETES Continuing Education Form.

4. Monitor completion
Schools, departments, and programs are required to assure compliance for all NSF research projects they administer. This includes:

  1. Verification that qualifying individuals have complied with education requirements within the applicable timeline for completion; and
  2. Implementation of necessary internal procedures to assure that issues of noncompliance are identified and resolved

Washington University tracks completion of these requirements via the Compliance Module. Visit to find information on accessing training records under “Administrator User Guides.”