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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Responsible Conduct of Research

2017 RCR Training: Monday, May 15th, 8am-5pm 
Pre-registration required. Details available closer to the event.

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.

Full Day Training

The full day RCR training held in May is a requirement for Vanderbilt graduation.  Additionally, all students and postdocs supported by the NIH are required to attend the full day training. 

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 a series of courses offered through the BRET office. These sessions will be offered as ongoing training, but will not be a substitute for the full day training in May.

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.

For more information about RCR at Vanderbilt (requirements, contacts, etc.), please go to this page: FAQs for RCR at VUMC

Past Training Schedules


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 trainingeach 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?
1. Attend the full day training offered in May.  It is always scheduled for the Monday following graduation.  This training is taken once and is not a substitute for ongoing training.
2. Participate in continued RCR training each and evey 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.

If I’ve attended the one day BRET RCR training, does that sufficiently satisfy NIH RCR requirements? 
No. NIH now 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? 
If attendance was recorded electronically with a code linked to the StarBRITE system, you can search on their site: StarBRITE in the Responsible Conduct of Research section under the "Education" tab.