Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR)

The IU Center for Bioethics and the Bioethics and Participant Advocacy Program (BPAP) of the Indiana CTSI are committed to training of future researchers in Responsible Conduct of Research, which the NIH defines as “the practice of scientific investigation with integrity.  It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.” Since 1994, the NIH has required RCR training for individuals supported by training grants such as K, T, or F grants.  RCR training is separate from the CITI online training required for all researchers by the IRB. 

RCR training that meets NIH requirements includes 8 hours of direct, personal instruction, including coverage of topics such as:

  1. Conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial
  2. Policies regarding human participants, 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

Some training grants, such as K awards, require RCR training over the entire duration of the award, which includes but goes significantly beyond coursework.  Click here to see the current NIH requirements. 

Learn more here about the following services offered by theBioethics and Participant Advocacy Program of the Indiana CTSI: 

Courses in RCR:

The IU Center for Bioethics and Bioethics and Participant Advocacy Program (BPAP) of the Indiana CTSI offer two courses in RCR, both of which satisfy the NIH requirements for instruction in RCR. 

GRDM-G504, “Introduction to Research Ethics” is a three-credit course that is offered each Fall term.  This course provides an in-depth introduction to a wide range of issues related to scientific integrity and the responsible conduct of research.  The course meets for 2 hrs and 40 miutes once a week and has a required take-home midterm and final exam.  G504 course is most appropriate for students who would like a complete introduction to RCR, especially those who are in a graduate program where they can count this course towards their degree.  Some graduate programs require G504, including the CITE program.    

Click here to see a recent syllabus. 

Click here to see the listing in the IUPUI course catalog.

GRDM-G506, “Responsible Conduct of Translational Research” is a one-credit course that is offered each Spring term.  It meets for just 8 sessions, 1 hr and 30 minutes each, for two months (e.g. Jan-Feb) and has a take-home midterm and final.  This course provides a more limited and focused introduction on key topics in RCR, especially related to translational research, such as clinical trials and other human participants research. 

Click here to see a recent syllabus.

Click here to see the listing in the IUPUI course catalog.

Students who need to satisfy RCR training requirements for an NIH training grant may audit one of these courses, with the agreement of the course director.  In addition, the BSAP program and IU Center for Bioethics are developing the opportunity for students who need to satisfy NIH requirements to take a shorter, workshop version of these courses.

Some departments and graduate programs also offer their own RCR courses, such as GDRM-G 505, "The Responsible Conduct of Research"in the Biological Sciences Graduate Group and NURS-D 602, "Responsible Conduct of Research" in the School of Nuraing. Click here for more information about RCR at IU.


RCR Training Opportunities

Pediatric Research Ethics – K Seminar (PRE-K)

The PRE-K seminar is for NIH K applicants and awardees whose research focuses on pediatric or other vulnerable populations. Participants meet 4-5 times per year and take a deep dive into the ethics issues specific to their research project.  The seminar included NIH RCR topics on research with human participants, such as authorship, scientific misconduct, and conflict of interest. If interested in participating, please contact Dr. Mary Ott ( or Mr. Tah Yogo (