Do Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Requirements Apply to My Award?

What you should know about RCR requirements if you currently receive—or plan to receive—outside funding for your research

Training in responsible conduct of research (RCR) is a requirement for certain types of personnel receiving salaries or stipend support on specific NIH, NSF, and USDA-NIFA awards.

If you miss a training deadline, you can't be paid on the funds for that grant.

NIH (non-training), NSF, USDA-NIFA

Individuals receiving funds from the NIH, NSF, and USDA-NIFA are required to complete RCR training within 60 days of being named on the relevant grant (NIH Career Development Awards, NIH Dissertation AwardsNIH Research Education, NSF Awards, and USDA-NIFA Awards). Except for the NIH training awards, this RCR requirement can be met through online training hosted by the CITI Program. Only the CITI training called the "Full Course" in RCR will meet the requirements set by NIH, NSF, and USDA-NIFA. The "Short, Foundational Course" does not meet the requirements of these sponsors. You can learn more by visiting RCR Training: Online.

NIH Training Grant

NIH Training Grants come with rigorous requirements for RCR education. For NIH training awards, online training alone is not sufficient to meet RCR requirements. In addition to CITI Training "Full Course" in RCR, NIH describes discussion-based instruction in the RCR by participants and faculty as an important and necessary component for the NIH training grant recipients in NIH Notice numbers NOT-OD-10-019 and NOT-OD-22-055. To meet this requirement, NIH Training Grantees need to participate in an RCR symposium offered every year.

RCR Symposium Summary

The RCR office provides and archives RCR symposium summaries to report to the NIH.

RCR Symposium 2022: Plagiarism

The 2022 RCR (Responsible Conduct of Research) Symposium, hosted by Cornell’s Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) was held virtually from April 14th to May 12th, 2022, via Canvas and Zoom. The Symposium analyzed the ethical issues related to this year’s topic: Plagiarism. Approximately 150 students, faculty, and staff participated in the event.  

The format of this year’s Symposium was as follows: attendees watched pre-recorded lectures about RCR in general and plagiarism in particular. Subsequently, participants attended small break-out discussion sessions led by faculty members and ORIA staff. Each discussion group consisted of 6-12 students and took place from April 14th to May 11th. There were 20 discussion groups in total. The Symposium closed with a panel discussion led by individuals with expertise in the field of plagiarism.  

Each discussion group examined three case studies related to topics such as plagiarism of ideas, the ethics of receiving assistance, and self-plagiarism. These scenarios involve hypothetical researchers and situations which were designed to highlight different considerations and realistic issues related to plagiarism. By using case studies to showcase plagiarism in various research contexts, the attendees were exposed to situations in which plagiarism, or the determination of whether a situation constituted plagiarism, was complicated and conflict-inducing. Attendees also engaged in discussions about how plagiarism or the appearance of plagiarism could cause significant reputational damage.  

Small discussion groups analyzed the case studies and considered a battery of questions in the context of each of the cases. These questions were shared with the panelists prior to the panel discussion and were discussed during the panel discussion.  

The panel discussion was live and was held on May 12th via Zoom from 1-2 PM EST. During the panel discussion, attendees had an opportunity to engage with the panelists by asking questions and clarifying comments. The panel discussion was recorded by ORIA and moderated by Mark Hurwitz (Chief Research Compliance Officer). The panelists were Tracy Stokol (Professor in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine), Conrad Wolan (Senior Associate General Counsel), Volker Vogt (Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), and Jim Entwood (arXiv.org Operations Manager, Cornell University).  

RCR Symposium 2021: Conflict of Interest

[To be Added]

RCR Symposium 2020: 

[To be Added]

RCR Symposium 2019: Data Acquisition and Management

The 2019 Winter Symposium on Responsible Conduct of Research was held on January 17, 2019, in Warren Hall. The symposium focused on ethical issues involved in the management, acquisition, and sharing of research data, and promoted discussion of the topic using case studies discussed in small break-out groups. Just under 200 students, faculty and staff participated in the event; Daniel Barbash, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, was the academic lead.

To begin, Professor Barbash spoke about key concepts in data management, what can go wrong, some examples from the literature, relevant funding agency/journal guidelines and requirements, and available resources at Cornell. Professor Barbash then laid the groundwork for the case studies to be discussed, and the participants broke into small groups for discussion. The groups were led by faculty members and graduate students from various disciplines across campus.

Following the small group discussions, the symposium attendees reconvened in the Warren Hall auditorium to reflect on the questions and issues that arose during the break-out sessions. The graduate student discussion group leaders shared key takeaways that were brought up in their groups, and the audience chimed in with other questions and comments.

RCR Symposium 2018: Maintaining Public Trust in Industry-Funded Research

The Winter 2018 Symposium on Responsible Conduct of Research was held on January 22, 2018, in Warren Hall. The symposium focused on ethical issues regarding public trust in industry-funded research and promoted discussion of the topic using case studies discussed in small break-out groups. The topic of public trust in industry-funded research was particularly timely and critical, as the university and researchers have become more and more interested in pursuing industry funding in recent years, and such research is becoming more popular.

About 200 students, faculty, and staff participated in the symposium. Patrick Stover, Professor, and Director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences was the academic lead for the event.

The case studies discussed at the symposium contained two different scenarios involving hypothetical researchers, and highlighted considerations and dilemmas that researchers might face in the course of their careers. One case study addressed the ethical considerations present when a Ph.D. student working in a lab heavily funded by industry is interested in pursuing research that could yield results that may be detrimental to that industry funder. The second case described a scenario in which a faculty member was offered a large grant with valuable data from a company, but the terms of the grant—included allowing the company to provide only select data, and restricting payment unless the research results are satisfactory to the company—were not acceptable to the university.

To begin the event, Professor Patrick Stover spoke about the challenges, benefits, and considerations involved when researchers pursue funding from the industry. Professor Stover also addressed the issue of maintaining the public’s trust when researchers are funded by industry and provided examples of how this issue is addressed in the Nutrition field. Professor Stover laid the groundwork for the case studies to be discussed, and the participants broke into smaller groups for discussion. The discussion groups were led by faculty members and graduate students from across a multitude of graduate fields.

The small discussion groups considered many issues arising from each of the cases and provided their own questions to the entire audience, which were addressed at a panel discussion held at the end of the symposium. In the panel segment of the event, Professors Stover, Marie Caudill, David Erickson, Frank Schroeder, and Bettina Wagner, and the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, Mary-Margaret Klempa, led a discussion with faculty and students about their personal experiences regarding the maintenance of public trust when researchers are funded by industry and addressed questions which arose during the small group discussions.

RCR Symposium 2017: Rigor and Reproducibility

The Winter 2017 Symposium on Responsible Conduct of Research was held on January 23, 2017, in Warren Hall. The symposium focused on ethical issues regarding rigor and reproducibility in research and promoted discussion of the topic using the case study method. The topic of rigor and reproducibility in research was particularly timely and critical, as we have seen an increased focus by sponsors, journals, and the public on ensuring that researchers follow and document how their scientific design, methods, and reporting meet the highest standards of integrity and rigor.

About 200 students, faculty, and staff participated in the symposium. Dr. Nozomi Nishimura, Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering, was the academic lead for this symposium, which also featured a keynote address by Dr. Michael G. Kaplitt, Professor and Vice Chair of Research in Neurological Surgery, and Director of Movement Disorders and Pain at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The case studies contained two different scenarios involving a hypothetical researcher, and highlighted considerations and dilemmas that researchers might face in the course of doing their research. One case study dealt with the tricky issue of “P-hacking” which occurs when researchers collect data or conduct statistical analyses to yield a target result, and for non-significant results to become significant. The second case described a scenario in which a student designed a study with live animals and got encouraging results, but it became apparent that in the design and conduct of his experiments he had ignored several important variables that may have had an effect on the outcome.

After a brief welcome from Andrew Bass (Professor, Neurobiology, and Behavior; Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research), Dr. Mike Kaplitt spoke about the challenges in translational research and brought attention to how a lack of rigor in pre-clinical studies can have real, substantial, and negative implications for clinical studies directly affecting human health. Dr. Nishimura then set up the groundwork for the case studies that were to be discussed. After a short break, participants broke into smaller groups for discussion. The discussion groups were led by a faculty member and a graduate student from across graduate fields in the life sciences.

The individual groups considered many questions in the context of each of the cases and sent in responses to two questions from the case studies, which were displayed at the final wrap-up discussion session. In this wrap-up session, Dr. Nishimura led a discussion with faculty and students about the principles and practical considerations to ensure rigor and reproducibility in life sciences research.

RCR Symposium 2016: Plagiarism

The Winter 2016 RCR Symposium was held on January 25, 2016, in Uris Hall Auditorium on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca New York. The symposium focused on the ethical issues related to plagiarism. About 170 students, faculty, and staff participated in the symposium. As in prior symposia (2012, 2014, 2015), we used the case study method to engage participants in the discussion. The format of this year's symposium was as follows: an introduction to all participants by the faculty member who serves as the academic lead, followed by small break-out discussion sessions, and then a final panel discussion for all participants.

The case study for discussion contained two different scenarios involving hypothetical researchers to highlight different considerations and realistic issues related to the challenges in defining plagiarism in the various research contexts - grant proposals, reviews of manuscripts, type of information being considered, expectations of collaborators - that make these determinations tricky, can potentially induce conflict and could result in significant reputational harm to researchers. After a brief welcome from Professor Andrew Bass (Neurobiology and Behavior; Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research), Professor Maurine Linder (Chair, Molecular Medicine) gave an introduction to the basic principles of plagiarism and the case scenarios to be discussed. After a short break, participants broke into smaller groups for discussion. Each discussion group of 6-12 students was led by a faculty member and a graduate student from across many different graduate fields in the life sciences.

The individual groups considered many questions in the context of each of the cases, including: What are the ethical considerations that underlie plagiarism decisions? What are the criteria typically used in determining whether plagiarism has occurred? What are the obligations of reviewers when they are reviewing manuscripts for publication? Is self-plagiarism a thing and if so, when? If conflicts about plagiarism do arise, what are the available paths to resolve those conflicts? At the conclusion of the discussion, each group wrote one or two questions that they felt should be taken up in the panel discussion.

The panel discussion was moderated by Richard Cerione (Goldwin Smith Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Departments of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine and Chemistry and Chemical Biology, College of Arts and Sciences). Other panelists were Professor Barbara Baird (Horace White Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, College of Arts and Sciences). Robert Oswald (Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine), Maureen Hanson (Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor, Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), and Maurine Linder (Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine). Professor Jeffrey Benovic (Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School, Associate Editor of the ACS Journal Biochemistry) was also invited to participate in the panel but was unable to join panel due to inclement weather. The panelists considered many of the questions posed by the attendees. Faculty and Students in the audience participated in the discussion as well.

The symposium closed with a note of thanks from the organizers and a request by Professor Linder for students to take the discussions back to their research groups and engage in more in-depth discussions of policy and practice with their research groups and their faculty mentors.

RCR Symposium 2015: Ethical Issues in Ethnographic Research

The Spring 2015 Symposium on Responsible Conduct of Research was held on April 10th, 2015 in Clark Hall’s Auditorium and Bethe Lecture Room. Faculty members Adam Smith (Professor and Chair of Anthropology), Paul Nadasdy (Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies), and Erick White (Visiting Professor of South and Southeast Asian Religions) helped develop the format and select topics of discussion for the event.

The symposium, which was focused on ethical questions around maintaining the confidentiality of research participants in ethnographic research, used two case studies that highlighted very different considerations for researchers. Case 1: "Legal Requests for Confidential Data from Research Field Notes" presented the quandary of a researcher who promises confidentiality to her teenage research participants but is asked by police to turn over field notes as part of a criminal investigation. Case 2: "Anonymity Declined" describes a situation where a researcher anonymized the identities of research subjects in her ethnography, but discovers afterward that the majority of them were not happy with remaining anonymous.

Following a short welcome presentation by Adam Smith, the participants broke into two small groups to discuss the case studies. Small group discussions were led by Marina Welker (Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies) and Paul Nadasdy. Discussions touched upon many aspects of each case. Participants and discussion leaders brought up possible consequences to both researchers and participants; the ethical obligations of the protagonists in each case; upon what professional norms and values ethical obligations were based; and who stakeholders were in each situation. Numerous questions arose during the discussion. As a default strategy to protect participants, is providing anonymity always the best idea in every case? Are there other ways ethnographic researchers can reasonably protect the rights of their research participants? Is it possible to truly guarantee confidentiality to participants?

After small group discussions, the participants reconvened for a panel discussion with faculty who had expertise in this area of research. Adam Smith moderated the discussion and posed issues raised in the discussion groups to panelists Erick White, Elaine Wethington (Professor of Human Development and Co-Director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging), Shannon Gleeson (Associate Professor of Labor Relations, Law and History) and Steven Jackson (Associate Professor of Information Science and Director of Graduate Studies for Information Science). The panelists brought unique perspectives to the discussion as well as varying experiences with ethnographic research and added illustrative examples drawn from their experiences in the field. The closing discussions left participants with a greater appreciation both for the complexity of the ethical issues raised and the importance of carefully considering the ethics of anonymity during research design.

RCR Symposium 2015: Authorship

The Winter 2015 Symposium on Responsible Conduct of Research was held on January 16, 2015, in Uris Hall Auditorium. The symposium focused on ethical issues around authorship and promoted discussion of authorship using the case study method. About 200 students, faculty, and staff participated in the symposium. The format of this year's symposium was similar to the one from last year: an introduction by the faculty member who serves as the Academic Lead, small break-out discussion sessions, followed by a panel discussion.

The case study for discussion contained three different scenarios involving a hypothetical researcher to highlight different considerations regarding authorship decisions and realistic issues related to the power inequity between advisors and students and between collaborators that make these decisions tricky and can potentially induce conflict. After a brief welcome from Andrew Bass (Professor, Neurobiology, and Behavior; Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research), Professor Volker Vogt (Molecular Biology and Genetics) gave an introduction to the basic principles of authorship and the case scenarios to be discussed. After a short break, participants broke into smaller groups for discussion. Each discussion group was led by a faculty member and a graduate student from across many different graduate fields in the life sciences.

The individual groups considered many questions in the context of each of the cases, including: What are the ethical considerations that underlie authorship decisions? What are the criteria typically used in making authorship decisions? In a list of authors, what is the significance of the order of names in the list? How can conflicts regarding authorship be avoided? If conflicts about authorship do arise, what are the available paths to resolve those conflicts?

In focusing on why an action in each scenario might be considered acceptable or unacceptable, discussion group members considered the following factors: Who has a stake in the action? What might be the consequences of the action? What might be the obligations of the protagonist? What professional norms and values might give rise to those obligations?

At the conclusion of the discussion, each group wrote some questions that they felt should be taken up at the panel discussion. The panel discussion was moderated by Professor Tony Bretscher,(Professor, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology). Other panelists were Jan Allen (Associate Dean, Academic, and Student Affairs, Graduate School), Yimon Aye (Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Chemical Biology), Maggie Gustafson (Graduate Student, Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology, Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology), Mark Roberson (Professor and Chair, Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine) and Charles Walcott (Professor Emeritus, Neurobiology, and Behavior; University Ombudsman) The panelists considered many of the questions posed by the attendees. Faculty and Students in the audience participated in the discussion as well.

The symposium closed with a note of thanks from the organizers and a request by Professor Volker Vogt for students to take the discussions back to their research groups and engage in more in-depth discussions of policy and practice with their research groups and their faculty mentors.

RCR Symposium 2014: Human Subjects Research

The second Symposium on Responsible Conduct in Research for students in the Life Sciences and Engineering was held on January 17, 2014, under the academic leadership of Professor Kathleen Rasmussen, Professor of Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and International Professor of Nutritional Science at Cornell. Professor Rasmussen and the Cornell Faculty Steering Committee for RCR jointly developed the topic and format of the symposium. The symposium focused on the issues related to conducting research with human subjects including research with biomaterials obtained from human subjects, using the case study "Use of genetic materials in the case of Havasupai Tribe." 

Over one hundred and twenty graduate students and over 15 faculty members participated in the symposium. Professor Rasmussen started the symposium by providing an overview of the information about the case, including the timeline, the individuals involved, the debate, the legal and ethical issues raised, and the final outcome of the controversy. After this presentation, the students and faculty broke into small groups of 10-12, with a faculty member and a graduate student as discussion leaders. Each group discussed two out of the 10 questions posed about various ethical questions related to the case, and the issues it raised for their own work at Cornell. After the small group discussions, the entire group reconvened for a panel discussion with individuals who had expertise in the various aspects of the case and moderated by Professor Rasmussen. The panelists were Dr. Angela Gonzalez (Associate Professor, Development Sociology), whose research interests include research with Native American communities; Dr. Carol Devine (Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences; Chair, Institutional Review Board); Ms. Nora Salvatore (Assistant University Counsel); and Dr. Andrew Clark (Professor, Molecular Biology and Genetics). Each group presented their responses to the questions that were posed to their group, and the panelists provided additional perspectives and clarifications on the topic. 

The symposium ended with closing comments from Amita Verma, the Director of the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance. Following the symposium, a reception was held for the attending students and faculty.

RCR Symposium 2012: Research Misconduct

On January 10, 2012, the first Cornell Responsible Conduct in Research symposium for students in the Life Sciences and Engineering was held. The symposium was developed and planned in the fall of 2011 by Professor Andy Bass (Senior Associate Vice Provost for Research), Tilman Baumstark (Assistant Dean for Professional Development in the Graduate School), Professor Mark Robertson (Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences), Professor Robert Oswald (Pharmacology), and Park Doing (Lecturer, Bovay Program in Engineering Ethics). One hundred and thirty graduate students and several faculty members participated in the symposium. At the start of the symposium, Park Doing presented the case of the Harvard researcher Marc Hauser, who resigned from Harvard after questions were raised about his practices by students in his own research group and an investigation was conducted by Harvard that found him "solely responsible" for eight instances of misconduct in both published and unpublished research. After this presentation, the students and faculty broke into small groups of 8-9 and discussed both the case and the issues it raised for their own work at Cornell. After the small group discussions, the entire group reconvened and discussed the conclusions of each group in a session moderated by Park Doing and Mark Robertson. At the end of the symposium, Assistant Dean Baumstark outlined for the students the channels available to them at Cornell in order to report research misconduct. After the symposium, a reception was held where students and faculty could talk and interact informally.