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Instruction in Responsible Conduct of Research - Postdoc IRTA, CRTA, VF, Research Associates

Please note that the following information now describes required training and has been fully approved by the Office of Intramural Research (OIR). Initial announcement of this requirement can be found in Dr. Michael Gottesman’s NIH Catalyst article, "There Is No Substitute for Credibility in Science" (March-April 2015).

On December 1, 2000, the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) published the final PHS Policy on Instruction in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The policy was updated in 2009 ( to provide best practices learned from 20 years of teaching RCR. The NIH Intramural Program, as a federally funded research program, is required to satisfy the requirements of this policy.

All "research staff" in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) who have "direct and substantive involvement in proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting research, or who receive research training" will be participating in some form of RCR instruction. That includes Senior Investigators, Tenure-Track Investigators, Staff Scientists and Clinicians, Research and Clinical Fellows, Pre- and Postdoctoral Trainees, Technicians, Research Nurses, and Special Volunteers or Guest Researchers involved in these activities.

As part of your NIH experience you are required to complete certain training classes, including ethics in research. The Office of Intramural Research (OIR) and the NIH Committee on Scientific Conduct and Ethics (CSCE) has proposed the following:

RCR Requirements for Postdocs, Postbacs, and GPP Students

  • Responsible Conduct of Research: Online training module within 3 weeks of arrival (1 hour)
  • Discussion of Ethical Research Practices: Institute offered in-person discussions (usually within the first year), to be arranged by your home Institute
    • For ICs which elect to use OITE training option
      • Postbac/GPP course introduced in 2015-16 (5 hour)
      • Postdoc course will be offered in 2016-17 (4 hour)
    • For IC training directors who to elect to do their own specific training
      • Postdoc course will be offered for from 2-8 hours, depending on IC requirements
  • Reproducibility Training: On-line video vignettes using discussion guides in your home laboratory or lab group (1 hour)
    • Introduction –NIH experimental design and reproducibility modules (for discussion, no video)
    • Biological and Technical Replicates
    • Blinding and Randomization
    • Lack of Transparency
  • Introduction to “My Laboratory”: Training by Mentor in lab group meeting (1hr). Lab head spends one group meeting going over expectations for behavior, record keeping etc. Developed specifically for his lab staff and trainees. Recommendations should be tailored to specific requirements of the type of research and Record keeping needs: notebooks, electronic formats, dedicated server, etc. or any combination thereof.
  • Annual Review of Ethics Cases: Institute facilitated review of cases identified for that year (1 hour).

Elective Training Choices (may be used to supplement training as needed)

  • Ethical Writing (seminar), 1 hour; offered by the NIH Library, Cindy Clark
  • Research Misconduct – what is collateral damage (1 hour) Offered by ARIO
  • Authorship Criteria – TBA
  • Reproducibility of Data Collection and Analysis: Modern Technologies Potential and Pitfalls. Please contact Jackie Roberts for additional information.
  • ORI, “The Lab”, basic research interactive video

For Clinical Trainees

The page was last updated on Friday, October 9, 2020 - 11:54am