October 08, 2013

Implementation of New USDA NIFA RCR Requirement

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture now has a requirement for responsible conduct of research training for grantees, published in the USDA NIFA Research Terms and Conditions. UC Berkeley implementation of the new requirement is available on the Required Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training on the Research Administration and Compliance web site.

The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) 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. By accepting a NIFA award the grantee 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. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training are subject to NIFA review upon request.

Note that the training referred to may be either on-campus or off-campus training. The general content of the ethics training, at a minimum, will emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration, and reporting misconduct. Each institution will be responsible for developing its own training system, as schools will need flexibility to develop training tailored to their specific student needs. UC Berkeley has membership in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for RCR. Research project staff should choose the most appropriate RCR online modules to complete or attend one of the face-to-face training courses offered by University Extension or the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research as described on the campus RCR Training page under NIH RCR training options.