RCR Program Basics

RCR instruction is available to all students and postdoctoral researchers in the sciences and engineering, and may be required by your program director, mentor, or principal investigator. If you are not a “covered individual” paid from a “covered award” (defined below), ask your program director, mentor, or principal investigator whether you should complete RCR instruction.

What is RCR?

The Responsible Conduct of Research Program provides instruction and professional development relating to the following topics:

  • Mentor/Mentee Responsibilities
  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Collaborative Science
  • The Scientist as a Responsible Member of Society, and the Societal Impacts of Scientific Research
  • Research Misconduct/Whistle-blowing
  • Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment

Separate detailed instruction is provided by the University and required for those engaging in human subjects research, animal research and laboratory research. Such instruction is provided through the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), Institutional Animal Care & Use Committees (IACUCs) and institutional Laboratory Safety Program. However, RCR instruction will usually touch upon:

  • human subjects research,
  • research involving animals, and
  • safe laboratory practices

if appropriate to the audience.

When is RCR required?

  • A student’s degree program or postdoctoral fellow’s school may require completion of the RCR program.
  • For regulatory compliance purposes, RCR instruction is required by NSF and NIH for students and postdoctoral researchers, if they are “covered individuals” on “covered awards” as defined below.
  • RCR Status Lists are updated and posted at the end of each semester.

What Is the BU RCR Program?

BU RCR is offered at three cumulative levels: undergraduate, master’s degree candidate, and doctoral degree candidate or postdoctoral researcher. Learn more at the RCR Training page and get started!

Definitions: Covered Awards and Covered Individuals

National Science Foundation

NSF: All NSF awards to BU or BMC, made on proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010, are covered awards. Covered individuals include all undergraduates, graduate students, or postdoctoral researchers who receive financial support from these covered awards to conduct research.

National Institutes of Health

NIH: All NIH training grants* to BU or BMC, regardless of date of proposal submission, are covered awards. Covered individuals include all “trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support” from covered awards. This includes all students and all postdoctoral researchers who receive financial support and participate, at any time, as beneficiaries of the program supported by the training grant.

*NIH training grants include awards under the following programs: 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 and any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.