Changes to Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements for National Science Foundation Investigators and Key Personnel

TO:Boston University Faculty 
FROM:Sarah Hokanson, Assistant Vice President & Assistant Provost for Research Development and PhD & Postdoctoral Affairs; Director, Responsible Conduct of Research
Kathryn Mellouk, Associate Vice President for Research Compliance
DATE:October 16, 2023
SUBJECT:Changes to Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements for National Science Foundation Investigators and Key Personnel

The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 altered the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) required training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). In addition to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars (postdocs), faculty and senior personnel with NSF funding must now also complete RCR training. This legislation also added new required topics as part of RCR training, including mentoring, mitigation of foreign influence on research outcomes, and federal export control.

For students and postdocs enrolled in our RCR program, now a one-credit course (EK800), these new requirements have been integrated into the curriculum and no action is needed. However, faculty and other key personnel will need to take steps to satisfy the new requirements. The required RCR training is now applicable to anyone funded on NSF proposals submitted on or after July 31, 2023. The Office of Research recommends that all NSF faculty and senior personnel complete training at their earliest opportunity to ensure they are compliant as soon as possible. 

Unlike the National Institutes of Health, NSF does not specify how RCR training should occur. To help faculty and senior personnel meet this new NSF requirement, we have compiled a suite of resources on each of the required topics that faculty and staff may choose from to satisfy their training requirement. Please note that principal investigators are responsible for maintaining training records for their federally funded projects.

Responsible Conduct of Research

Boston University has purchased the CITI Responsible Conduct of Research suite of online courses, including advanced and refresher modules. Faculty and research staff should either complete the basic course or sign up to be part of the EK800 instructor team by emailing


Effective mentor training is aligned with an individual’s stage of career, their interests and mentoring context, and their specific growth areas or skill needs. As such, we are not assigning a singular program or approach for faculty and staff to meet this required topic. BU offers an in-person mentor training program called Provost Mentor Fellows annually and mentoring workshops through our Clinical & Translational Science Institute(CTSI). Programs and departments may request tailored mentoring workshops for faculty and research staff by emailing Faculty on the Medical Campus can participate in mentoring workshops offered byFaculty Development & Diversity.

There are also several online resources for mentor training. The Postdoc Academy (a BU-based initiative) has developed productive conversation frameworks to help faculty prepare for and have effective mentoring conversations with their trainees. The University of Minnesota has also developed several online courses through their CTSI program. 

Foreign Influence and Export Control

Research Compliance has purchased CITI training modules focused on these topics, entitled Undue Foreign Influence: Risks and Mitigations and Export Compliance.

Visit our new RCR training page for faculty to access any of these trainings. Thank you in advance for your time and attention to these new requirements. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.

Information For...