RCR Requirements & Informal Instruction



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Developed by the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs (ATOP), CHOP's Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) program is designed to meet the needs of fellows involved in research, career development award recipients and research faculty.

The program includes formal online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) RCR training, in-person workshop sessions (RCR 1 and RCR 2) held several times per year, and informal mentor-to-trainee RCR learning activities. Elective seminars are also available.

All formal RCR training (CITI RCR, RCR 1, RCR 2) must be completed within two years from the beginning of the fellowship appointment or start date of the career development or other federal grant award. The CITI RCR course is completed during the first year. RCR 1 and RCR 2 can be completed in any order during the first or second year.

Year One

  • Online CITI RCR course (completed once - does not expire)

Year Two

  • Eight hours of in-person education (RCR 1 and RCR 2)*
  • Informal RCR Instruction Plan completed in conjunction with faculty mentor

* The in-person education must be completed during each career stage (i.e., postdoctoral, physician fellow, K-awardee, faculty) at a minimum of once every 4 years. In-person sessions expire 4 years after the earliest session date. K awardees, research faculty and senior fellows may complete the in-person component by serving as an RCR Instructor.

NOTICE: During COVID-19 In-Person RCR Training Requirement is Relaxed

This short-term modification applies to postdoctoral, physician, T32/F32 fellows, and K awardees who have a start date prior to January 1, 2022 and have not yet completed all of their in-person RCR training.

Effective immediately and as long as the COVID public health emergency is in place, the CHOP Research Institute has relaxed the in-person RCR component of the training and is accepting completion of the online CITI RCR course, Responsible Conduct of Research for Postdocs, Fellows, Trainees, and NIH Early Career Investigators, as fulfillment of the institutional training requirement. CITI RCR must be completed within your current career stage or within the past 4 years.

This is in compliance with the NIH Extension of COVID Flexibilities for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (NOT-OD-21-152) and FY 2022 Updated Guidance: Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (NOT-OD-22-055). Additional guidance will be provided as this situation evolves.

The Office of Academic Training and Outreach programs (ATOP) will continue to offer a series of virtual RCR-related seminar options during 2022-2023 and resume in-person RCR sessions at a future date.

CHOP RCR Program Requirements

The RCR program requirements are outlined in the RCR Training Policy. The policy applies to postdoctoral fellows, physician fellows involved in research activities, NIH-training and individual fellowship grant awardees (T or F), NSF-funded fellows, NIH early career investigators (mentored K awardees, K12 scholars, and senior fellows and career award recipients) and research faculty. Faculty ensure that both formal and informal RCR training is completed, contribute to the design of RCR sessions, and participate as course facilitators, discussion leaders, and speakers.

Federal RCR Program Requirements

Effective with the September 25, 2022 due dates in new and renewal applications for research training, career development, research education, and dissertation research grants, the FY 2022 Updated Guidance describes changes in the format, frequency, timing, and subject matter for RCR instructional components.

Effective January 25, 2010, for all new and renewal applications and January 1, 2011, for all continuation (Type 5) applications, the updated NIH policy provides specific requirements for RCR education plans, including faculty participation, ongoing monitoring, and reporting requirements.

Effective January 4, 2010, the NSF requires that institution's must have a plan in place to provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF funds. Additional resources are available on the NSF Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research Website.

Effective February 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has mandated that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and any staff participating in USDA NIFA-funded research receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR). See Research Terms and Conditions, Agency-Specific Terms and Conditions (and those issued subsequently) for details.

Informal RCR Instruction is continuous learning about research integrity that occurs within daily laboratory/research team interactions, mentored and peer discussions, and in other scholarly activities or seminars. It is an essential component of the research training experience and is completed in addition to the formal CHOP RCR training courses.

Informal RCR Instruction plans are developed by the trainee/NIH-funded early career investigator in conjunction with their faculty mentor/PI during year two of the fellowship appointment or K award. Plans are discipline specific and individually tailored. Copies of the plans and relevant documentation are retained at CHOP by the trainee/NIH-funded early career investigator and faculty mentor/PI.

Informal RCR activities, along with the formal RCR courses, must be reported within the RCR Training Plan of selected grant applications and progress reports. If an RCR Training Plan is incomplete and receives an "unacceptable" rating by the grants review committee, it could delay the release of funding.

Below are ideas for Informal RCR learning activities:

  • Integrate core RCR topics into lab, staff, and research team meetings
  • Utilize question and answer sessions, case studies, individual conversations, and small group discussions for RCR issues
  • Facilitate discussions on research ethics issues that are discipline-specific
  • Encourage discussions on discipline-specific standards of practice
  • Incorporate RCR education into individual professional development plans

The Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs (ATOP) offers guidance and resources to support the development of informal RCR educational experiences.