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Office of Research Compliance

RCR Training Requirements FAQ

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NIH Projects

Who has to take RCR training on an NIH Project?

NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.  

Clemson defines this to mean undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs are required. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to also participate.

  * NIH applies to the following awards: 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.

What training is required?

Clemson requires 2 phases of training:

  • Basic training is completed through an online RCR training program provided by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). If you are not registered with CITI, access the CITI login/registration page. The registration will guide you through a series of questions to help you select the correct course.  You will choose the “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)” course then choose a discipline specific course that is most appropriate for you. If you have completed the one of the RCR courses previously, you may choose the “RCR refresher” option.

  • Advanced RCR training is an additional 5 contact hours for undergraduate and 8 contact hours of discussion-based RCR training for graduate students and postdocs. These discussions will encompass both general and discipline-specific material. The 5/8 contact hours may include a variety of activities determined by the PI to be effective and engaging. The contact hours must include more than one topic area. Custom-designed workshops, forums, and classes, or existing classes and seminars offered by the college or department, and/or participation in external offerings may all be included. For an existing course or program to be suitable for fulfilling one of the training requirements, the PI must document that relevant RCR topics are covered in the course/program.

    ORC offers a brown bag series each semester, which generally provide 1 hour of credit each session. Click here to view upcoming sessions on the RCR Workshops page.

    When we are aware of other offerings on campus that would provide RCR credit, we post them to the RCR Workshops page as well.

NSF Projects

Who has to take RCR training on an NSF Project?

All undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers "who will be supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research" must receive training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).

Clemson defines this to mean undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs as required. Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to also participate.

What training is required?

Clemson requires 2 phases of training:

  • Basic training is completed through an online RCR training program provided by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). If you are not registered with CITI, access the CITI login/registration page. The registration will guide you through a series of questions to help you select the correct course.  You will choose the “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)” course then choose a discipline specific course that is most appropriate for you. If you have completed the one of the RCR courses previously, you may choose the “RCR refresher” option.

  • Advanced RCR training is an additional 5 contact hours of discussion based RCR training. These discussions will encompass both general and discipline-specific material. The 5/8 contact hours may include a variety of activities determined by the PI to be effective and engaging. The contact hours must include more than one topic area. Custom-designed workshops, forums, and classes, or existing classes and seminars offered by the college or department, and/or participation in external offerings may all be included. For an existing course or program to be suitable for fulfilling one of the training requirements, the PI must document that relevant RCR topics are covered in the course/program.

    ORC offers a brown bag series each semester, which generally provide 1 hour of credit each session. Click here to view upcoming sessions on the RCR Workshops page.

    When we are aware of other offerings on campus that would provide RCR credit, we post them to the RCR Workshops page as well.

USDA projects

Who has to take RCR training on a USDA Project?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has mandated 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 (RCR). 

Clemson defines this to mean undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff —everyone participating on the project— is required.

What training is required?

Clemson requires 2 phases of training:

  • Basic training is completed through an online RCR training program provided by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). If you are not registered with CITI, access the CITI login/registration page. The registration will guide you through a series of questions to help you select the correct course.  You will choose the “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)” course then choose a discipline specific course that is most appropriate for you. If you have completed the one of the RCR courses previously, you may choose the “RCR refresher” option.

  • Advanced RCR training is an additional 5 contact hours of discussion-based RCR training. These discussions will encompass both general and discipline-specific material. The 5/8 contact hours may include a variety of activities determined by the PI to be effective and engaging. The contact hours must include more than one topic area. Custom-designed workshops, forums, and classes, or existing classes and seminars offered by the college or department, and/or participation in external offerings may all be included. For an existing course or program to be suitable for fulfilling one of the training requirements, the PI must document that relevant RCR topics are covered in the course/program.

    ORC offers a brown bag series each semester, which generally provide 1 hour of credit each session. Click here to view upcoming sessions on the RCR Workshops page.

    When we are aware of other offerings on campus that would provide RCR credit, we post them to the RCR Workshops page as well.

General Questions

Are my summer REU students required to take RCR training?

Based on the most recent REU information, NSF considers these students "supported" by NSF to conduct research. Therefore, they must complete the relevant phase(s) of the training program.

How do I meet the requirement?

  • Documentation of basic training:  Documentation of completion of this component will be maintained by the ORC.  Additionally, a completion certificate is available for printing via CITI.  A copy of this certificate should be maintained by the individual completing the training and the PI.  PI should attach this documentation to the RCR training documentation form he/she keeps on each covered individual.

  • Documentation of advanced training:  Documentation of completion of this component must be maintained by the covered individual and the PI (on the RCR training documentation form) and provided to the University and/or the funding agency upon request. This component will be implemented by PIs with the assistance of their college and department in a way that meets the particular needs of each unit.

  • Retention of documentation: The completed RCR training documentation form with attachments (copy of online training certificate, case study, etc.) must be maintained by the PI for a period of three years after the conclusion of the award.  Copies of case studies will be forwarded to ORC to serve as a resource for future RCR training.

Is this the same training as the IRB, IACUC or IBC required training?

No. You must take the RCR course in CITI for the basic training credit.

While animal welfare and human subjects protections are RCR topics, the online IRB and IACUC training modules do not meet the requirement for discussion-based contact hours.

Does this plan need to be included with my proposal?

For USDA and NSF, no. The institutional RCR plan is part of the institutional assurance and does not need to be included in the text of your proposal. However, a mentoring plan (NSF - section 7008) is required if you request support for a postdoc.

For NIH, yes. See NIH guidance for more information. A template has been developed to assist you in drafting this part of your proposal.

When is it due?

CITI training must be completed within 12 months of being appointed to a covered project or before the applicable person graduates or leaves the institution.

The in-person training must be completed within 24 months of being appointed to a covered project or before the applicable person graduates or leaves the institution.

What if an individual works on my grant for less than 12 months?

The individual would still need to complete the Basic RCR training (CITI).

I am the PI

As the PI, you committed in your award acceptance that you are ultimately responsible for 1) ensuring the appropriate personnel on your project (as defined by the applicable agency’s policy) complete the RCR training requirement, and 2) documenting their training.

While we offer workshops and other training delivery methods to help you meet the Advanced Training requirement, the best way for your students to learn is from YOU. After all, you are the expert and their mentor. We encourage having in-person discussions around these topics (in lab meetings, in informal meetings, one on one) and documenting them. Our Resources page can provide some assistance and we are working to create more helpful tools for you. Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistance.