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Research at URI

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is a broad term referring to integrity and ethical standards in the work of scientists, scholars, and professionals involved in the field of scientific inquiry and practice. Responsible and ethical conduct of research is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering. Consequently, education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future scientists and engineers.

URI is fully committed to educating its students, faculty and staff on the issues surrounding the responsible conduct of research, and their obligations as individuals and members of the larger research community.

Instruction areas of RCR education include:

  • Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership of Data
  • Animal Welfare
  • Authorship/Plagiarism
  • Collaboration
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Human Subject Protections
  • Mentoring
  • Peer Review
  • Research Misconduct

Covered Individuals

Graduate students matriculating in the fall of 2014 and after in majors with a research thesis or dissertation are required to complete RCR education. In addition, certain granting agencies require individuals to complete RCR education.  Granting agencies require the following individuals to complete RCR education:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) - All undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) - All trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and/or dissertation research grant.
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - All program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Completing the RCR Education Requirement

The RCR education program is flexible, allowing covered individuals three methods to complete the required education, including:

  1. Completion of an approved research ethics course -- Successfully completing an approved credited research ethics course. Courses that are currently approved to complete this requirement are: BIO 500, CHM 500, NEU 504, and EDC 586X.
  2. Attendance and participation in a minimum of three RCR Discussion-Based Sessions -- Attending three (3) or more ORI sponsored RCR Sessions.  Participation Certificates are awarded following each session.
  3. Completion of the online RCR education program -- Successfully completing the online RCR education program provided by the Collaborative Institutional Education Initiative (CITI).  CITI provides RCR training courses specific to your field of study. Any of these courses will satisfy the new RCR requirement. Choose the option that best relates to your work at URI (RCR for Biomedical Researchers, RCR for Engineering Researchers, etc.). If you are not registered with CITI, visit the URI CITI registration information page

Custom-designed workshops, forums, and classes, or existing classes and seminars offered by the college or department may supplement or potentially replace the RCR education requirement if approved by ORI.

Completion of the RCR Education Requirement is verified through an approval by ORI on the Dissertation/Thesis Proposal Approval Form prior to approval by the Department Chair/Graduate Director.

RCR Discussion Based Sessions

The RCR Discussion-Based Sessions is designed for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and staff who wish to gain a better understanding of the best practices in research from University of Rhode Island's experienced investigators. 

Attendees will become aware of established professional norms and ethical principles for responsible scholarly conduct and learn how to apply them to their own work and conduct their research with integrity. Each session will be led by an expert on the seminar's topic and will include case studies, problem-solving discussion as well as invite dialogue on ethical dilemmas led by the research faculty. 

Sessions are offered throughout the academic year at the Kingston Campus, the Bay Campus, and the Providence Campus.

Retention of Documentation

Documentation of completed RCR training (e.g., copy of online CITI training certificates, seminar certificates) must be maintained by the PI for a period of three years after the conclusion of the award.

Information for NIH Training Grants

For covered individuals of applicable NIH grants, NIH requires covered individuals to engage in an 8 contact hours of discussion-based RCR education. These discussions will encompass both general and discipline-specific material. The contact hours may include a variety of activities determined by the PI to be effective and engaging. To satisfy the NIH RCR training requirement on-line RCR training by itself is not sufficient. For more information, contact the Office of Research Integrity.

URI RCR Education Plan

For more information about the RCR education requirement, refer to the URI RCR Education Plan which describes the responsibilities of the institution and the Principal Investigator, along with the Office of Research Integrity's method to verify compliance.

Responsible Conduct of Research Resources



Compliance Quick Links