Elements of Researcher RCR Plans

Researchers must describe both content and format of their RCR plans. The plan must describe how participation in instruction in RCR will be monitored. All RCR plans must specify the time line for individuals’ completion of RCR training. Researchers are encouraged to contact RCS in the development of RCR plans.

Most acceptable plans include the following subject matter for instruction:

  • conflict of interest—personal, professional, and financial
  • policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  • collaborative research including collaborations with industry
  • peer review
  • data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership
  • research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  • responsible authorship and publication
  • the scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

For NIH, the RCR plan must incorporate five specific instructional components: subject matter, duration, frequency, faculty participation, and format. 

  • The curriculum of most acceptable plans includes the subject matter listed above.
  • The duration of instruction is recommended to be at least eight contact hours over a period of time.
  • Instruction should be appropriate to the career stage of the individuals receiving training and must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years. 
  • Faculty are highly encouraged to participate in and contribute to formal and informal instruction in ways that allow them to serve as effective role models for their trainees, fellows, and scholars. 
  • Significant face-to-face interaction and discussion is expected to occur among trainees, fellows, scholars, and/or participants.  Online instruction alone is not sufficient to satisfy the training requirement; however, for participants supported by short-term programs lasting six or fewer months, online instruction may be acceptable.

Next Section: Options for Completing Training Requirements