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Responsible Conduct of Research

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) promotes the responsible conduct of research among CSUSM faculty, students, and staff. Federal legislation and agency policies (e.g., NIH, NSF, USDA) require that awardees of specific federally-funded research and training grants provide appropriate Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy requires RCR training for grants made through training
activity codes (e.g., R25 and T34). The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires awardees to provide
RCR training for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by
NSF. USDA NIFA requires RCR training for program directors, faculty, undergraduate and graduate
students, and staff. It is the responsibility of the University to ensure that awardees are able to comply
with the federal RCR requirements. Thus, the following guidelines are intended to assist CSUSM
investigators in compliance with RCR training requirements. 

Roles and Responsibilities: 

Office of Graduate Studies & Research (OGSR): 

  1. Notify PIs of RCR training requirements and the Institutional Plan for Training on the RCR
  2. Develop and provide opportunities for RCR training
  3. Upon award, ensure PIs are reminded of RCR requirements
  4. Support identification of individuals in need of RCR training 

Principal Investigator (PI):

  1. Understand and comply with RCR requirements
  2. Ensure that RCR requirements are met in a timely manner for relevant participants (i.e., trainees,
    undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, project senior personnel, staff).
  3. Report documented completion of RCR training to the funding agency, as appropriate
  4. Maintain certificates of completion 

CSUSM Corporation Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP):

  1. Assist OGSR in identifying those in need of RCR training
  2. Assist in verifying RCR completion in cases where participants are employees (students, staff, faculty)
    on sponsored projects 

Training Requirement:


Online Training:

For NSF and USDA awards, training should be completed in CITI. Investigators, students, and trainees who are required to fulfill RCR training shall complete the appropriate CITI online RCR training modules available via the CSUSM Office of Graduate Studies & Research (OGSR) website. In exceptional situations, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research can approve alternative training materials and procedures to meet the RCR requirements. In these cases, approval of the plan is required in advance of implementation. 


For NIH training awards, in-person training is required. Trainees supported by NIH grants will complete an OGSR-sponsored face-to-face RCR training seminar. The OGSR-sponsored seminar generally covers topics, such as: 

  1. Conflict of interest 
  2. Policies regarding human subjects and vertebrate animal subjects in research
  3. Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships 
  4. Collaborative research
  5. Peer review
  6. Data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership 
  7. Research misconduct
  8. Responsible authorship and publication
  9. Contemporary ethical issues in research 

Training Resources: 

Text for Proposals: For suggested RCR Plan narrative text for NIH, NSF, USDA proposals, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. 

Training Requirements by Sponsor:

requiring RCR
R25 & T34 awards All NSF awards
excluding 1) conference,
symposium, workshop,
and travel projects;
and 2) projects in which
students receive stipends
to participate in a program
(not to conduct research)
such as Noyce and SSTEM projects
NIFA awards
Who needs to
participate in training
Trainees  Required:
Undergraduate and
graduate students; postdoctoral researchers
Encouraged: Faculty
Program directors,
faculty, undergraduate
students, graduate
students, postdoctoral
researchers, and any
Format of RCR training In-person training is
required and
supplemental online
training through CITI
module recommended
CITI module  CITI module 
When RCR should be
During the training
Upon hire  Upon hire 
Frequency of training  Once during career
stage and no less than
once every four years
Not prescribed by NSF Not prescribed by