Policies, Procedures and Guidelines

NIH Policy on the Responsible Conduct of Research

The NIH Policy on Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) provides specific requirements for RCR education plans, including ongoing monitoring and reporting on the fulfillment of the plans. These updates took effect for all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010.

For access to Washington University RCR resources, please visit the Responsible Conduct of Research page.

Below is an overview of the NIH policy for RCR requirements. The complete text for this NIH policy is available here: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-10-019.html.

General Requirements

NIH requires 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 receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.

New applications must include a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research and must describe how participation will be monitored (requirements for individual applications vary).

Renewal applications, in addition to the criteria for new applications, the renewal application must describe past and future changes that address any weaknesses in the current instruction. All training faculty who have served as course directors, speakers, lecturers, and/or discussion leaders must be named in the application (requirements for individual applications vary.)

Applications lacking a plan for instruction in responsible conduct of research will be considered incomplete and may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Plan Components

Plans must address five specific instructional components:

1.  Format
Plans must include substantial face-to-face instruction. Online instruction is not considered adequate as the sole means of instruction.

2.  Subject Matter
NIH provides recommended subjects, which may include conflict of interest, laboratory practices, mentor/mentee relationships, collaborative research, peer review, data acquisition, research misconduct, among others. For more information, visit here​.

3.  Faculty Participation
Training faculty and mentors are highly encouraged to contribute.

4.  Duration of Instruction
Acceptable programs generally involve at least eight contact hours.

5.  Frequency of Instruction
Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage. 



NIH policy requires participation in and successful completion of instruction. It is expected that course attendance is monitored and that a certificate or documentation of participation is available upon course completion.