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Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research Training 2022

May 6, 2022

The full-day Responsible Conduct of Research Training is scheduled for May 6, 2022. Due to the changing nature of COVID restrictions, we won’t know until closer to the event what our maximum enrollment will be.

Please pre-register for the event via this REDcap survey.  Submissions will be timestamped and used to determine the final class list once guidance has been given by the University.  All registrants will be emailed in April with their enrollment status.


Students, postdocs and other trainees that need RCR training can take advantage of online CITI training materials.  Online training alone is not sufficient to satisfy NIH requirements, therefore you should work with your program to determine what  is necessary for compliance.  Additionally, trainees who need RCR training for graduation should work with their program leadership to determine how completion of RCR training will be verified.

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Course can be accessed via this LINK.  Instructions for registration can be found here- CITI_Training_SOP

Vanderbilt University RCR Training Requirements

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is committed to the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research.  In 2002, we initiated a policy that successful completion of this course was required to graduate with the PhD degree.

We offer an introductory presentation on lab ethics to incoming graduate students immediately upon arrival. We focus on defining and avoiding plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification. After the completion of the first year course, and at the time students choose thesis research labs, we require attendance at a full day (9 hour) symposium on all aspects of RCR as defined by the ORI. This full day training is always scheduled for the Monday directly following May graduation.

Comprehensive RCR training is a requirement for Vanderbilt graduation.  Additionally, all students and postdocs supported by the NIH are required to attend full-day training every four years.

Wonder if you need to attend this training?

  • Check with your PI
  • Check with your grant administrator
  • Attendance records are loaded below and trainees can pull their attendance records here- STARBRITE

(In order to use STARBRITE, you must be established in the VU VPN before logging in. If VU users are not set up with the VPN yet, there are instructions on doing so here: issues connecting to VU’s VPN should be directed to Vanderbilt IT via 615-343-9999, or the VUIT help site.)


STUDENTS: For more information about requirements and how to satisfy them, please contact your program manager or DGS.

POSTDOCS: For specific questions, please contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs-

Ongoing Training

The NIH requirements include ongoing training in RCR.  All students and postdoctoral fellows are expected to participate in training sessions throughout the year- every year.

In 2010, the NIH issued directive NOT-0D-10-019, which led us to redesign our RCR training for graduate students and postdocs to ensure that trainees are exposed to RCR training through personal mentoring with faculty on an extended basis. The new requirements will be met by documenting informal training that is already happening in labs in addition to other courses offered for RCR credit throughout the university.

Additional opportunities can be found at StarBRITE in the Research Education Calendar under the “Education” tab.  These sessions will be offered as ongoing training, but will not be a substitute for an immersive and comprehensive training day.

The 9 areas of focus for RCR defined by the NIH are the following:

  1. Conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial
  2. Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  3. Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  4. Collaborative research including collaborations with industry
  5. Peer review
  6. Data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership
  7. Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  8. Responsible authorship and publication
  9. The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

In response to the new directive we have re-evaluated our overall RCR policies. In June 2011, the Executive Faculty of the Medical School unanimously approved the new policy for RCR training.

Past Training Schedules

Past Attendance Records

Attendees can pull proof of participation by visiting StarBRITE and navigating to the Responsible Conduct of Research section under the “attendance” tab.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is RCR training? 
This is training in the Responsible Conduct of Research. It is mandated by the NIH for all NRSA trainees, and by the NSF for all individuals participating in NSF sponsored research.  It is required for all graduate students seeking a PhD at Vanderbilt.

What does RCR training involve?
Exposure to specific issues, followed by small group discussions of case studies which are chosen to illustrate particular points while exposing ambiguities that are frequently encountered in dealing with these issues. The issues focus on the nine areas of RCR emphasized by Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Does Vanderbilt provide RCR Training?
Yes. If you are situated within Vanderbilt Central you should contact the Provost’s office for more detailed information regarding NSF requirements. If you are working in the Medical Center and are funded by the NIH, then the RCR opportunities and requirements detailed on this site apply to you.

Who is required to take RCR?
All graduate students and postdoc holders of an NRSA fellowship (F31, F32, and T32). Holders of K awards are also required to attend. Students in the Medical Scientist Training Program will satisfy their RCR requirements through specific training offered by that program.

When do I have to take the RCR Training?
All graduate students and postdocs must take the full day training offered in May.  The full day training is taken during the first year of graduate school or postdoctoral fellowship.  All graduate students and postdocs must also participate in ongoing RCR training each and every year they are at Vanderbilt.  In addition to being an NIH requirement, RCR training is also a requirement for graduation.

How do I satisfy these requirements for RCR Training?

      • Attend the full day training offered in May.  It is always scheduled for the Monday following graduation.  This training is taken once every four years but is not a substitute for ongoing training.


      • Participate in continued RCR training each and every year you are at Vanderbilt.  A collection of ongoing training sessions does not equal the full day training.  You must do the full day training in your first year, and participate in ongoing training each and every year thereafter.  Participation in the full day immersive training must be repeated every four years.

If I’ve attended the one day BRET RCR training, does that sufficiently satisfy NIH RCR requirements?
No. NIH requires that individual training grants and fellowship PIs provide additional exposure.  Ongoing training is required.

Is any additional RCR training available at Vanderbilt? 
Yes. The training that is sponsored by the BRET office is only one of a variety of annual RCR opportunities offered on campus. Additional opportunities can be found at StarBRITE in the Research Education Calendar under the “Education” tab.

Where can I find proof of attendance?
Participants can find certified attendance records on the StarBRITE site in the Responsible Conduct of Research section under the “attendance” tab.  Programs can view attendance records in the ‘Past Attendance Records’ section above.