National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Projects

Effective January 4, 2010, when submitting new research proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF), UC Berkeley will be required to certify that the campus has a plan in place for providing education and training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) to all students (undergraduate and graduate) and postdoctoral scholars who will be supported by those grants to conduct research. This RCR training is required under the America COMPETES (America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act. While training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF, institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request.

The plan for campus implementation was issued by the Vice Chancellor for Research in a CALmessages memo on January 13, 2010.

NSF RCR Training at UC Berkeley

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars

Online Option: Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)

  • Please note:  As of June 6, 2016, all learners should use the “Log in via SSO” option for all CITI training
  • Your login credentials will be your Calnet User ID and Password. 
  • For learners who already have a CITI account, all previous information including planned and completed training will be combined under the new Calnet account.  You may need to enter your login information from your previous CITI account, so please have it available.
  • If you have any questions or experience any difficulty with this process, please contact us at rcr@berkeley.edu.
  • Research project staff should choose the most appropriate RCR online modules to complete. Students and post docs who may have used the CITI site for their human or animal subjects training will be able to use their existing username and password to access the site and add the RCR course to their “grade book.”

Classroom Option: Classroom Training in RCR at UC Berkeley
On campus face-to-face training courses offered by UC Berkeley.

Undergraduate Students

For undergraduate students supported by NSF grants, principal investigators will be responsible for ensuring that these students read a handout, Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR): A Summary for Undergraduate Researchers, that was developed by UC San Diego for general use throughout the UC System.

Principal Investigator Certification

Principal Investigators (PIs) must document and certify on a per award basis, that all students and postdoctoral scholars supported by his or her NSF award have completed RCR training within 60 days of the individual’s becoming supported by NSF funding. PIs must fill out and sign the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Certification Form and submit the original form to the Research Administration and Compliance Office, c/o Victoria Sharma (RCR Program Manager), initially within 90 days of the award being made; and annually thereafter on the anniversary date of the award for the duration of the project, updating any additions of students and postdocs since the last report and certifying the training has occurred as required. This record will be kept with the NSF award file for the project.


National Institutes of Health (NIH) RCR Training

On November 24, 2009, the National Institutes of Health updated its policy for instruction of trainees in the Responsible Conduct of Research. The updated policy states:
“NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. This Notice applies to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R. This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.”

The NIH Guide Notice Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research provides additional information.

NIH RCR Training at UC Berkeley

Online training alone is not acceptable to NIH.

Undergraduate Students, Graduate Students, and Postdoctoral Scholars

Classroom Training in RCR at UC Berkeley - On campus face-to-face training courses offered by UC Berkeley.

Principal Investigators

Training faculty and sponsors/mentors are highly encouraged to contribute both to formal and informal instruction in responsible conduct of research. Informal instruction occurs in the course of laboratory interactions and in other informal situations throughout the year. Training faculty may contribute to formal instruction in responsible conduct of research as discussion leaders, speakers, lecturers, and/or course directors. If you are interested in participating in the Classroom RCR course on campus, please contact Victoria (Tori) Sharma at rcr@berkeley.edu.

Investigator Certification

NIH policy requires participation in and successful completion of instruction in responsible conduct of research by individuals supported by any NIH training/research education/fellowship/career award. It is expected that course attendance is monitored and that a certificate or documentation of participation is available upon course completion. NIH does not require certification of compliance or submission of documentation, but expects institutions to maintain records sufficient to demonstrate that NIH-supported trainees, fellows, and scholars have received the required instruction.


Implementation of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) RCR Requirement

The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering. Consequently, education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future scientists. By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training are subject to NIFA review upon request.

NIFA RCR Training at UC Berkeley

Online Option: Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI)

  • Please note:  As of June 6, 2016, all learners should use the “Log in via SSO” option for all CITI training
  • Your login credentials will be your Calnet User ID and Password. 
  • For learners who already have a CITI account, all previous information including planned and completed training will be combined under the new Calnet account.  You may need to enter your login information from your previous CITI account, so please have it available.
  • If you have any questions or experience any difficulty with this process, please contact us at rcr@berkeley.edu.
  • Research project staff should choose the most appropriate RCR online modules to complete. Students and post docs who may have used the CITI site for their human or animal subjects training will be able to use their existing username and password to access the site and add the RCR course to their “grade book.”

Classroom Option: Classroom Training in RCR at UC Berkeley
On campus face-to-face training courses offered by UC Berkeley.


For more information on the RCR requirements contact:

Victoria (Tori) Sharma, RCR Program Manager at rcr@berkeley.edu or 642-8119
Patrick Schlesinger, AVC-RAC at pschlesinger@berkeley.edu or 642-2866