Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for NSF Grants

CITI RCR training is back! Please note that there are some minor changes to the directions.

This webpage is for faculty who have or will be submitting NSF grants and students (undergraduates, graduates, and post-docs) who will be working on NSF grants.  If you have received an Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grant or a Graduate Research, Service, and Educational Leadership (RSEL) grant, please click here for the required RCR training.

The responsible 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 and engineers.  Section 709 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (42 U.S.C. 1862o-1) requires that "each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project."

Students (undergraduates, graduates, and post-docs) will be required to complete training at two different websites.  The first site contains the training that must be completed within the first 2 weeks of employment.  This is the same training that is required of students receiving UW-L grants and is also referred to as "Rights and Obligations" training.  The second site contains the training that must be successfully completed within the first 6 weeks of employment.  The information regarding that website is presented below. 

If you have questions, please see the policy and FAQs below. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) is also available to assist at 785-8007 or grants@uwlax.edu.

 

UW-La Crosse RCR Policy for NSF funded research

FAQs for Faculty and Students

Forms

FAQs for Faculty

FAQs for Students

 

FAQs for Faculty

What do I need to turn in related to RCR when submitting an NSF grant?

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How do I register to have access to the CITI training modules?

Note: if you already have a CITI account and just need to add the Responsible Conduct of Research, go to your main page and select "Add a Course or Learner Groups". This will allow you to enroll in the Responsible Conduct of Research training program.

  1. Go to the CITI Registration page. Under "Select Your Organization Affiliation", type "Wisconsin" in the box and then select University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Click on "Continue to Step 2".
  2. Enter your first name, last name, and email address. Enter your name here as you would like it to appear on your completion reports. Click on "Continue to Step 3".
  3. Choose a username, password, and security question. Click on "Continue to Step 4".
  4. Enter demographic information and click on "Continue to Step 5".
  5. Click "NO" when asked if you want to request Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits. The second question in this step asks your preference in participating in research surveys at a later date. Click on "Continue to Step 6".
  6. Complete the personal information requested. For your Department, students can use their major (Biology, Microbiology, etc.). For the Role in Research, choose a role that is most appropriate for your involvement with the project on which you will be working. Click on "Continue to Step 7".
  7. You will be asked to select your curriculum. Under Question 1, "Responsible Conduct of Research" and select the most appropriate category for the project on which you will be working.

How do I login to complete the training?

  1. Go to the login page, which is https://www.citiprogram.org/default.asp
  2. Enter the username and password you established and click "Submit".
  3. On the "Main Menu" page, under "Courses", select the course you would like to work on, and you will be taken to the gradebook for that course.
  4. The first time you login, you must complete the "Integrity Assurance Statement".
  5. There may be 1 or 2 short modules that will orient you to the training.  There are no quizzes/tests associated with these modules, and they are required. Once these are complete, the actual training modules will become available.

Do I have to complete the CITI training modules?

  • While it is not required that faculty members complete the training, it may help you in selecting the appropriate modules for your students and in providing any additional training that you feel is necessary.

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Which modules should I select on the training plan form?

  • You should select the modules that best fit the work students will be doing. At a minimum, you must select 2 courses for undergraduates and 3 courses for graduates and post-docs.  You may select more, but note that students must be able to complete the plan within 6 weeks of beginning their work on the grant.

Are students who aren't being paid by the grant still subject to these requirements?

  • Yes. NSF does not make any distinction between students who are being paid and those who are not.

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What extra steps do I take when I hire / select a student?

  • When a student is hired or selected to work on an NSF grant, send the student's name, email address, student ID number and start date to Chandra Hawkins (chawkins@uwlax.edu). If you are involved with more than one NSF project, also identify the grant(s) on which the student will be working. 
  • If any information changes (student elects not to work on the grant, start date is pushed back, etc), update Chandra as soon as possible.
  • If you are hiring multiple students, you may send one email for all of them so long as it is sent before any of them begin work.
  • Provide students with the plan that they must follow to be compliant with your grant.

Can students complete the online training during work time?

  • No. NSF specifically forbids students to receive pay for time spent completing this training.

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How will I know that my students are complying with the policy?

  • ORSP will track the progress of students in the "Rights and Obligations" module that must be completed within the first 2 weeks of employment.  You will receive an email within a few days of their completion being verified.
  • Your students should be completing an RCR Student Training Verification Form.  Once your student has completed the required training, they should bring the completed form and documentation to you for your signature.  After you have signed the form, it should be sent to 220 Morris Hall within 6 weeks of their start date or you may scan and email the form to Chandra Hawkins, chawkins@uwlax.edu.
  • You will receive an email confirming that your student has completed the requirements once all the paperwork has been received by ORSP.

What score is required for a student to have successfully completed the training?

  • Students must score at least 80% on each required module.

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What happens if a student doesn't complete the required training?

  • If a student fails to complete the required training by the deadline, you will receive an email.  That student must halt all work (paid and unpaid) on that grant until successfully completing the training.
  • Once ORSP has received verification that the "Rights and Obligations" module has been completed or the RCR Student Training Verification Form and documentation (whichever is appropriate), you will receive an email from ORSP indicating that the student is in compliance.  Only then may the student return to work.

Do students still have to complete IRB training?

  • Yes. IRB is a legal requirement mandated by federal law if research involves human subjects.  If it was required before RCR, then it would still be required. RCR is not a substitute for any other required compliance measure.
  • If you are requiring IRB (Human Subjects) training as part of your RCR Training Plan and the student has a completion certificate from the UW-L IRB approved training site, this can be used to substitute for the CITI Human Subjects training.
  • Additional information on IRB.

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Do students still have to complete Biosafety (IBC), Animal Care (IACUC), and/or other compliances on campus?

What should I do if I'm having difficulties with the CITI training site?

  • Click on "Contact Us" at the bottom of the screen.  This will bring up options for site FAQs, live chat, password recovery, and a phone number.

Who should I contact on-campus with questions about RCR training requirements?

  • Please contact Chandra Hawkins, chawkins@uwlax.edu or 785-8007, in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).

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FAQs for Students

Which modules should I complete?

  • All students must complete the "Rights and Obligations" training.
  • Undergraduates - you will have at least 2 additional modules to complete.
  • Graduates / post-docs - you will have at least 3 additional modules to complete.
  • Check with your faculty mentor to find out which ones you are required to do.

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When should I complete the RCR modules?

  • "Rights and Obligations" training must be completed no later than 2 weeks after you have begun work on the grant.
  • CITI training modules must be completed no later than 6 weeks after you have begun work on the grant.

How do I register for CITI training?

Note: if you already have a CITI account and just need to add the Responsible Conduct of Research, go to your main page and select "Add a Course or Learner Groups". This will allow you to enroll in the Responsible Conduct of Research training program.

  1. Go to the CITI Registration page. Under "Select Your Organization Affiliation", type "Wisconsin" in the box and then select University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Click on "Continue to Step 2".
  2. Enter your first name, last name, and email address. Enter your name here as you would like it to appear on your completion reports. Click on "Continue to Step 3".
  3. Choose a username, password, and security question. Click on "Continue to Step 4".
  4. Enter demographic information and click on "Continue to Step 5".
  5. Click "NO" when asked if you want to request Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits. The second question in this step asks your preference in participating in research surveys at a later date. Click on "Continue to Step 6".
  6. Complete the personal information requested. For your Department, students can use their major (Biology, Microbiology, etc.). For the Role in Research, choose a role that is most appropriate for your involvement with animal research. Click on "Continue to Step 7".
  7. You will be asked to select your curriculum. Under Question 1, "Responsible Conduct of Research" and select the most appropriate category for the project on which you will be working. If you are uncertain as to which one to select, please check with your faculty mentor.

How do I login to complete the training?

  1. Go to the login page, which is https://www.citiprogram.org/default.asp
  2. Enter the username and password you established and click "Submit".
  3. On the "Main Menu" page, under "My Courses", select "Enter" for the course you would like to work on, and you will be taken to the gradebook for that course.
  4. The first time you login, you must complete the "Integrity Assurance Statement".
  5. There will be 1 or 2 short modules that will orient you to the training.  There are no quizzes/tests associated with these modules, and they are required. Once these are complete, the actual training modules will become available.

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I'm not being paid for the work I'm doing on the NSF grant. Do I still have to complete this training?

  • Yes. NSF does not make any distinction between students who are being paid and those who are not.

I completed the "Rights and Obligations" training when I received my own grant.  Do I have to repeat that training?

  • No. You only need to complete this training once.  If you have received an Undergraduate Research and Creativity Grant or a Graduate Research, Service, and Educational Leadership Grant (RSEL) after Fall 2009, you likely have completed this requirement.  If you are unsure whether you have completed this part of the training, please email Chandra Hawkins, at chawkins@uwlax.edu, who can check for you.

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How long will it take to complete the training?

  • You should plan for each module to take approximately one hour.

Can I complete the training during work time?

  • No. NSF specifically forbids students to receive pay for time spent completing this training.

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What score is required to have successfully completed the training?

  • You must score at least 80% on each required module.

What do I need to turn in to verify I am in compliance and able to work on an NSF funded project?

  • You will need to complete the RCR Student Training Verification Form.  After you and your mentor have completed this form, it should be sent along with a copy of your CITI gradebook page and IRB completion certificate (if using it to substitute for the human subjects module) to the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) in 220 Morris Hall or your mentor may scan and email it to Chandra Hawkins, chawkins@uwlax.edu.

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What happens if I don't complete the training?

  • If you do not complete the training by the deadline, you will receive an email from the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) indicating that you are not in compliance. 
  • You must stop all work (paid and unpaid) on the grant.
  • You may only return to work once you are in compliance and have received an email from ORSP indicating that you may do so.

Do I still have to complete IRB training?

  • Yes. IRB is a legal requirement mandated by federal law if research involves human subjects.   RCR is not a substitute for any other required compliance measure. Check with your mentor to see if you are required to complete this training.
  • If you are required to complete IRB (Human Subjects) training as part of your RCR Training Plan and you have a completion certificate from the UW-L IRB approved training site, this can be used to substitute for the CITI Human Subjects training.
  • Additional information on IRB.

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Do I still have to complete Biosafety (IBC), Animal Care (IACUC), and/or other compliance on campus?

What should I do if I'm having difficulties with the CITI training site?

  • Click on "Contact Us" at the bottom of the screen.  This will bring up options for site FAQs, live chat, password recovery, and a phone number.

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How do I know if I have completed the required training?

  • You should compare the list of training modules given to you by your mentor against your CITI gradebook.  The modules you have been given to complete should be listed as completed with a score of 80% or better.

Who can I contact on-campus with questions about RCR training requirements?

  • Please contact Chandra Hawkins, chawkins@uwlax.edu or 785-8007, in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP).

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