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NSF Training Requirements

NSF TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH (RCR)

Summary of the NSF Requirement

For all new proposals submitted after January 4, 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will require UT Arlington to certify that it has a plan to provide training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.  In addition, the institution is responsible for verifying that the RCR training requirement is met by individuals supported by NSF grants.  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.

For additional information about Responsible Conduct of Research, please visit:  

NSF Federal Register Notice on RCR Implementation (Full Text)
U.S. DHHS Office of Research Integrity (ORI)

Applicability of the NSF Requirement

RCR Training is required for the following individuals supported by NSF: 

  1. Undergraduate students
  2. Graduate students
  3. Postdoctoral researchers  
The term "support" includes direct benefits such as salary/payment, in addition to indirect benefits such as the use of equipment or laboratory supplies paid for by the NSF grant. 

The training requirement must be fulfilled within the first year after an award has been made, or before the student completes or departs the project.  For continuing projects, training will be required every four years after the initial completion.

UT Arlington's Plan to Meet the NSF Training Requirement for RCR

To meet this requirement, UT Arlington has developed a web-based RCR training module that will be completed by all individuals affected by the NSF requirement.  The online RCR training module is available in the Profile System and may be accessed at https://www.uta.edu/ra/real/researchspace.php?view=7using a UTA net ID and password to log in.  This training incorporates a range of RCR topics:

  • Research Misconduct
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Regulated Research Activities
    • Human Subject Research
    • Animal Subject Research
    • Biological / Recombinant DNA Research
    • Radiation / Lasers in Research
    • Export Control
  • Data Acquisition & Management
  • Authorship & Publication
  • Peer Review
  • Mentoring
  • Collaboration

In addition to the above online training requirement, it is recognized that individual faculty, departments, and/or colleges/schools may have their own RCR programs in place to mentor students in research.  The online training module, detailed above, is a broader supplement to these activities and will help ensure institutional compliance with sponsor requirements.  

All students conducting research are encouraged to complete the online RCR training module even if they are not covered under this NSF requirement.  

Responsibilities  

The Office of Research Administration - Regulatory Services, will be responsible for tracking and verifying  that online RCR training has been completed by covered individuals paid from an NSF award or individuals identified by the PI of the NSF award as being required to complete the training.   

The PI of the NSF award is responsible for ensuring compliance with requirements of the award, which includes facilitation of the training completion process and ensuring that all affected research staff are notified of the requirement.  The PI will notify Regulatory Services of any individuals who are "supported" under their NSF award but may not be paid directly from the NSF project.   

Procedures 

For new proposals submitted after 1/4/2010 to NSF and subsequently awarded, Regulatory Services will identify all individuals that are employed on active NSF projects. This information will be generated through cooperation with the Office of Grant & Contract Services at the middle of the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. PIs are responsible for notifying Regulatory Services of any additional individuals that are not directly paid from the NSF award but require the RCR training. All covered individuals will be registered by Regulatory Services for the web-based RCR training and will be notified with instructions to complete the training within one month. After one month, reminders will be automatically sent on a weekly basis and copied to the PI of the related NSF grant. If training requirements are not met after the allotted time period and a series of four reminders, the issue will be referred to the department Chair and/or Research Administration for resolution.