Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research (RCR)

WordRCR Certification Form for undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral students

RCR Training Requirements - Note that RCR certification for students is in addition to any other compliance training that may be required (e.g., IRB, IACUC, COI, etc.)

RCR Certification is valid for three years.

It is the responsibility of the PI/department to certify that each undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral scholar has completed the RCR training prior to participating in a sponsored activity.

I. Overview

The University of Montana expects that all individuals involved in research, teaching, and service will conduct such activities in a responsible and ethical manner (see Policy 400 - Responsible Conduct of Research.  In regard to students - undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral - involved in research, UM concurs with NSF:  "The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering."

As stated in PL 110-69, part of the America COMPETES Act, 42 USC 1862o-1, Section 7009, requires “that each institution applying for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.

II.    Definitions

As defined by federal agencies, responsible and ethical conduct of research encompasses the following areas:  research misconduct, human participants, research involving animals, data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership, mentor/trainee responsibilities, publication practices, and responsible authorship, peer review, collaborative science, and conflicts of interests and commitments.  (APA Online)

III.    Procedures

On the UM Checklist via E-Prop, the Principal Investigator (PI) will indicate whether or not undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral scholars will be participating on the activity.  When the project is funded, RCR Certification for such individuals is required, regardless of sponsor. The RCR Certification Form must be on file prior to the individuals participating in any capacity on the activity, whether paid or unpaid, and regardless of duration of involvement. 

On the certification form, the PI will identify the students by name and whether they are undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral researchers.  The certification form will also require the date of completion of the RCR self-study course by the individual(s).  

The RCR self-study course is web-based, and available under Compliance on the Research homepage.  Individuals will create a username/password under CITI: Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative.  If setting up a new profile, one of the required fields asks about the individual's "Role in human subjects research."  Select the blank line at the top of the pick list.  If adding coursework to an existing CITI profile, select “Add a course or update your learner groups for University of Montana” and select the question dealing with RCR.  

In addition to the CITI training, students (undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral researchers) who have successfully completed "Biomedical Research Ethics" (BMED 605) may use this UM class as a substitute for the CITI training.  Contact the instructor to secure documentation of completion and attach to the certification form. 

IV. Exceptions

Exceptions may be granted by the Compliance Officer on a case-by-case basis.

V. References

NSF - National Science Foundation
NIH - National Institutes of Health