CSU’s RCR Training Policy Overview

CSU’S NIH/NSF RCR Training Policy

Undergraduate Students
Online RCR training only

Graduate Students/Postdoctoral Fellows
Online RCR and approved face-to-face training

CSU’S USDA NIFA RCR Training Policy

Undergraduate Students, Research Scientist/Associate, Faculty
Online RCR training only

Graduate Students/Postdoctoral Fellows
Online RCR and approved face-to-face training

Core Competencies of RCR Training

  • Ethics and social responsibility in research
  • Conflict of interest
  • The use of animal/human subjects and safe laboratory practices
  • Mentor/mentee responsibilities
  • Collaborative research
  • Data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership
  • Research misconduct
  • Responsible authorship, publication and peer review
  • Financial management and responsibilities

Institutional Responsible Conduct of Research Training Program Policy

Colorado State University (CSU) is committed to excellence, setting the standard for public higher education in teaching, research and service for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado and the United States. We are committed to imparting to our trainees our core values: being accountable, engaging in civic responsibilities, promoting freedom of expression, demonstrating inclusiveness and diversity, encouraging innovation, acting with integrity and mutual respect, and providing opportunity and access to all. By providing the formal training outlined below we can provide a productive research environment for trainees during their tenure here, and prepare them to be responsible researchers and citizens when they move out into the workforce. In this context, responsible conduct of “research” includes all scholarly and inquiry activity associated with the mission of CSU. Although the nature of such research varies by discipline, training in ethics and responsible conduct is an essential component of the education of all members of the academic community.

Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students engaged in research are required to receive formal training in the following nine core areas:

  1. Ethics and social responsibility in research,

  2. conflict of interest,

  3. the use of animal/human subjects and safe laboratory practices,

  4. mentor/mentee responsibilities,

  5. collaborative research,

  6. data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership,

  7. research misconduct,

  8. responsible authorship, publication and peer review, and

  9. financial management and responsibilities.

The training content and effort shall be appropriate for the educational and responsibility level of a trainee and the discipline in which one is being trained.

All trainees engaged in research and scholarly inquiry at the undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral level will be required to take the CSU online RCR Training Course during their studies at CSU. In addition, face-to-face training is strongly encouraged and may be required for trainees as part of their formal or informal training experience. CSU requires that all trainees (postdoctoral fellows, graduate students) funded by the NIH, NSF, USDA NIFA take an approved face-to-face training course. In addition, faculty, research scientists, and research associates funded by USDA NIFA are required to take the online RCR training (USDA NIFA: US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture). CSU has a variety of mechanisms for providing such training, including GRAD 544 (“Ethical Conduct of Research”), Department of Philosophy courses (such as PL 666), undergraduate research program-specific RCR courses/workshops (such as a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates RCR course or an Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry RCR program), departmental/college RCR courses approved by the Provost to meet these requirements, and individualized mentoring from the trainee’s faculty advisor or other designated member of a department/program. [Note that all trainees supported by specific National Institutes of Health training mechanisms (D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R) must participate in face-to-face RCR training (i.e. an online training course alone does not meet the requirements for RCR training for individuals supported by these mechanisms)].

RCR courses will include coverage of ethics and ethical decision-making, based upon material emanating from the Department of Philosophy, permitting the dissemination of ethics training across the curriculum. All courses will contain case-studies or other active-learning activities that allow trainees to understand how theory is translated into practical decision-making of ethical issues. However, departments may tailor their course and training plans so that trainees receive the most relevant, discipline-specific information. Graduate students and new faculty will be introduced to these requirements at new student and new faculty orientations that take place on campus in fall and spring semesters. The Provost’s office, in conjunction with the Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office will provide oversight and quality review for all RCR face-to-face training programs across campus. CSU will also provide “training-the-trainer” workshops to assist faculty in providing the highest quality of responsible conduct mentoring possible. The Department of Philosophy will offer specific training opportunities to enhance mentoring on ethics and ethical decision-making processes. In addition, the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research will offer campus-wide RCR seminar series and workshops for students, faculty and staff, to allow trainers and trainees to experience RCR issues that may be outside their specific areas of expertise.

Exemptions: Basic RCR training requirements can be met by alternatives to the on-line RCR training course. In addition to the courses listed above (i.e., GS 544, PL 103, PL 305, PL666), units/mentors can propose alternative RCR training options to the RICRO office, which will determine the appropriateness of the suggested alternative(s).

The Provost will establish an online Resource Center for RCR Training, which will be accessible to all students, faculty and staff. The Resource Center will contain specific information for each of the nine core areas, including three sections: 1) lecture material that has been developed and used by other CSU faculty, 2) case studies and active-teaching exercises related to a specific topic, and 3) bibliographies, web links and other resources that instructors may find useful in their teaching of a topic. The Resource Center content will be monitored and updated periodically so that the content will reflect current developments in RCR topics. Faculty teaching RCR will be encouraged to contribute to the Resource Center so that RCR training efforts on campus can be coordinated and integrated into all curricula.

Promoting the responsible conduct of research and scholarly activity is the responsibility of all members of the campus community. At Colorado State University, training in this area is overseen by the Office of the Provost, and compliance with federal regulations regarding ethics training is overseen by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Questions regarding the CSU Institutional RCR Training Plan may be directed to RCR Coordinator.