Research Integrity & Safety Support Services

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

RCR training mandated by NIH for training grant, CAREER award, and NSRA recipients can not be met by use of online training, and requires a very different approach that can only be met by a face-to-face course.  Additionally NIH requires that this training be completed no less than once every 4 years.

UGA has several options for providing appropriate education to graduate students, post-doctoral trainees, faculty, and staff regarding the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). All are designed to be in full compliance with the stringent policy requirements for RCR education promulgated by NIH in NOT-OD-10-019, issued November 24, 2009. They provide substantive contact hours utilizing face-to-face discussion or lecture formats combining didactic and small-group discussion, and are led by experienced research faculty members.

The following courses / seminar series offered at UGA meet NIH standards:

  1. CBIO 8080
  2. Genetics 8650 Responsible Science.A course designed for first-year graduate students on how to conduct scientific research responsibly.
  3. GRSC 8550 A graduate-level, one-hour credit course that meets weekly each Fall and Spring Semester and covers the nine RCR topics plus several others, in fulfillment of the NIH requirements for RCR. Download Syllabus.
  4. Pharmacy 7230 Ethical Issues in Research, a course on ethics of research with animal and human subjects, fraud, scientific misconduct, and conflicts of interest
  5. Qualitative Research 8595 Research Ethics in the Professional and Social Sciences, a course exploring ethical dilemmas in conducting research in the social, professional, and human sciences and the sources of ethical principles and practices used to address these dilemmas.
  6. VETM 8550

Any one of the courses listed above may be audited or taken for credit by NIH trainees. Additionally, workshops or class presentations are regularly scheduled on individual RCR topics, such as Conflicts of Interest, and Conduct in Science (Misconduct).

National Science Foundation (NSF) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

All research proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) after January 4, 2010 must contain a certification from a Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) authorized official that UGA has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research for all undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who receive financial support from NSF research awards.

Effective February 2013, RCR training has been considered essential by USDA-NIFA in the preparation of future scientists. By accepting a NIFA research award, UGA assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained.

As a matter of policy, UGA will apply this requirement to all personnel employed on NSF and USDA-NIFA research grants unless an individual or group of individuals is granted a written waiver by Dr. Christopher King, Associate Vice President for Research Compliance, Office of Research.

Currently waivers or exemptions will only be given for:

  • high school students/teachers paid a stipend,
  • employees working exclusively in an administrative role on a project,
  • individuals who have completed a commensurate program of RCR education that can be substituted for the CITI program, and
  • employees whose project roles are deemed not related (for example, washing glassware or providing animal care).

Personnel employed on conference, travel, workshop, or symposium awards from NSF are exempt from the RCR requirement, across the board.

  • RCR Training

The University of Georgia has now created their own Responsible Conduct of Research at UGA course, which is intended as a replacement for the previous RCR courses provided by CITI. This course covers 8 of the most current, critical RCR topics including: mentorship, collaborative research, conflicts of interest, data stewardship, research misconduct, authorship, peer review, and social responsibility.  Completion of this course is valid for 4 years of credit. After the fourth year, you will be required to re-take the most current version of this training.

You can access the new Responsible Conduct of Research at UGA course through the Professional Education Portal (PEP) by logging in at with your UGA MyID and password. Use the upper right search bar to find this course.

Credit for CITI RCR courses will continue to be honored through their 4-year lifecycle.

Human Subjects training will continue to be offered through CITI. The CITI training can also be accessed through PEP.

  • The RCR course will require approximately 2 hours to complete.
  • The Quiz requires a passing score of 80%.
  • Employees may review the modules and/or take the quiz as often as necessary to reach a passing score. The course does not have to be completed in a single sitting.
  • You have one month from the date you are put on payroll for any NSF or a USDA-NIFA research award to complete RCR training.
  • Your PEP transcript record will be checked by your department’s Business Officer or designee to ensure any employee added to payroll for one of the covered awards (remember – conference, workshop, symposium, and travel awards are exempt from NSF’s RCR requirement) has met this requirement.
  • Employees can also print their own certificates in PEP, which verify their UGA RCR completion. However, the departments may also conduct additional transcript record confirmation.
  • Personnel paid by an NSF research award who are still on payroll after 30 days and have still not completed RCR training must be removed from payroll until training is completed.

RCR Training Confirmatiom

Business Managers that need to verify UGA RCR training can request a customized PEP Report by emailing  Please include your UGA MyID in this correspondence and allow up to 3 business days for your request to be processed.


No. The RCR training requirement applies to new awards submitted, or due, on or after January 4, 2010, to conduct research, which excludes, for example, conference, symposium, workshop, or travel awards.

No. The NSF directive applies only to individuals paid off an NSF award. Cost-shared effort does not apply.

No, students who receive only scholarship or stipend support to enroll in an academic program through such NSF programs as S-Stem and Noyce are not required to receive RCR training. However, students must take RCR training if they receive NSF scholarship or stipend support to engage in research, or if conducting research is included in their academic program.

No, any evidence of an acceptable RCR program substitution and its completion is sufficient to meet either NSF or NIFA requirements. Provide this evidence to Dr. Chris King, Associate Vice President for Research, and he will grant a written waiver from the RCR online requirements.

No, students who receive only scholarship or stipend support to enroll in an academic program through such NSF programs as S-Stem and Noyce are not required to receive RCR training. However, students must take RCR training if they receive NSF scholarship or stipend support to engage in research, or if conducting research is included in their academic program.

We recommend that you go ahead and have all those you intend to employ on the project complete the training. The training is very worthwhile for anyone who works on research projects, whether your proposal is funded or not. Save time now to save problems later.

Yes, any person receiving pay from an NSF research grant to UGARF, even those who are not UGA employees or students, has to take the training. Anyone who needs access to the training must obtain a UGA MyID and password, as either a visiting scholar or a UGA affiliate.  Please contact for additional information.

No, but the person will need a written waiver from Dr. Chris King. Dr. Chris King keeps the institution’s records of granted waivers under this policy. He will make these records available to NSF auditors, if required, and will provide a written response to the applicable department’s business manager so that individual knows a waiver has been granted for the individual in question.

You must complete the mandated RCR training every 4 years.

We will continue to accept the CITI RCR training modules through their normal 4-year lifecycle. However, if you are required to update your online RCR training or if you are completing the online RCR training for the first time, we ask that you take the Responsible Conduct of Research at UGA course.

Yes. However, UGA’s requirements (i.e., RCR training for anyone employed on an NSF research grant) do not flow down; NSF’s requirements flow down—and those requirements are limited to undergraduate and graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. For NIFA awardees, however, USDA requirements flow down to all subawards and to employees on them who are engaged in research.

Yes. Since most individuals taking the CITI RCR Training are likely already on payroll as employees being paid from an NSF or NIFA grant award, they are charging time to the grant and the time you expend to take the course is being paid for by UGA. Taking RCR training is an NSF and NIFA requirement and UGA pays the CITI membership fees associated for all CITI course participants.


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