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Responsible Conduct of Research

2025 Training – TBA

Thank you to those who attended the 2024 RCR Training on May 3rd. We would like to thank the presenters for volunteering their time and expertise for this important event. This year’s presenters included Andrea Page-McCaw, Barbara Fingleton, Colleen Niswender, Madhvi Venkatesh, Nathan Livesey, Stacy Satchell, Roger Colbran, Borden Lacy, Ben Bratton, and Walter Chazin.

We appreciate your patience while we process the attendance records. Please note that we do not issue certificates of attendance. Postdocs, staff, and faculty will receive an email when the attendance records have been uploaded into StarBRITE. Graduate students who attended will see their attendance confirmed in Yes. This training is listed as a summer session course (IGP 8004.01-0 credit hours) for graduate students and graded as “Pass” for those who attended. Grades will be added when the summer session closes in August.

Please check here after March 15, 2025, for information about the next BRET organized Responsible Conduct of Research Training.


Students, postdocs, and other trainees who 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 Ph.D. degree.

We offer an introductory presentation on lab ethics to incoming graduate students during their orientation week. 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 (8-hour) symposium in May covering all aspects of RCR as defined by the NIH.

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.



  • Check with your PI
  • Check with your DGS
  • Check with your grant administrator or training grant director


Angel Gaither –

Ongoing Training

The NIH requires 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 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 11 areas of focus for RCR defined by the NIH are the following:

  1. conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial – and conflict of commitment, in allocating time, effort, or other research resources
  2. policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  3. mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  4. safe research environments (e.g., those that promote inclusion and are free of sexual, racial, ethnic, disability and other forms of discriminatory harassment)
  5. collaborative research, including collaborations with industry and investigators and institutions in other countries
  6. peer review, including the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security in peer review
  7. data acquisition and analysis; laboratory tools (e.g., tools for analyzing data and creating or working with digital images); record keeping practices, including methods such as electronic laboratory notebooks
  8. secure and ethical data use; data confidentiality, management, sharing, and ownership
  9. research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  10. responsible authorship and publication
  11. the scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

See Past Training Schedules here

To view speakers and agendas from past sessions click here.

Past Attendance Records

For trainees:

Your attendance records are loaded into StarBRITE.  Attendees can pull proof of participation by logging into the Vanderbilt VPN and then visiting StarBRITE and navigating to the Responsible Conduct of Research section.  Find the  ‘Attendance’ tab –> ‘Attended Events’.

Beginning in 2023, all graduate students who successfully complete training will be registered for IGP 8004: Responsible Conduct in Research for the summer session.  *Note- the summer semester ends in mid-August so the transcript entry won’t be visible until then.

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 HEREAny issues connecting to VU’s VPN should be directed to Vanderbilt IT via 615-343-9999, or the VUIT help site.

For Program Managers, Training Grant Managers, or anyone else looking for a full list of attendees, log in with your VUnet ID here.

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 Ph.D. 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 eleven areas of RCR emphasized by the NIH.

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 doing research in the School of Medicine or 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), all K awardees, and all trainees supported by an NIH training grant or performing NIH supported research are also required to attend. Students in the Medical Scientist Training Program 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 Friday before 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.