Public and regulatory demand for accountability has increased significantly in the past 20 years, and regulations in reaction to abuses and scandals, especially in the realm of human subjects, have been passed. In recent years, however, Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) has been defined more broadly and federally funded research (and, in general, all research) must comply with regulations related to nine areas of research including: human subjects, vertebrate animals, research misconduct, and financial conflict.
The 2007 America COMPETES Act (America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science) requires that institutions applying for NSF funding must have a plan for "appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research" provided to undergraduate students, graduate students, and post docs "participating in the proposed research." This certification is required for proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010.
This policy seeks to ensure compliance with Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act of 2007. Further, training in responsible conduct of research is intended to encourage best practices in the conduct of all research and scientific investigations and to foster an ability to recognize an ethical choice and the ability to make a principled decision.
All undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research must complete Responsible Conduct of Research education.
Exemptions: Travel grants, including conference, symposium, and workshop travel are exempt from the RCR training requirement. All other individuals who work on or are paid from NSF funds must complete RCR training.
Responsibility for compliance with the NSF RCR mandate rests primarily with the Principal Investigator (PI).
The Principal Investigator is required to provide ongoing RCR training and oversight appropriate to the discipline, research project, and level of involvement for students, including instruction during the course of the project and in informal situations throughout the year. When postdoctoral researchers are involved in research proposed to the NSF by a PI, a plan for mentoring the postdoctoral students will be included in the proposal itself. There are several ways by which undergraduate student researchers can meet the RCR training requirement. In most instances, a combination of methods will be used.
Davidson College must meet the "oversight" portion of the RCR requirement, i.e. tracking and verifying that the requirement has been met. As such, the PI must send communication to OGC indicating that the training requirement for their students has been met, preferably signed forms showing that the nine areas of research responsibility were covered, i.e. (1) Research Misconduct (2) Data Acquisition and Management (3) Responsible Authorship (4) Peer Review (5) Laboratory Animal Welfare (6) Human Subjects Protections (7) Mentoring (8) Conflicts of Interest (9) Collaborative Research.
The director of Grants and Contracts shall oversee this policy and review it at least once every two years. Changes to this policy shall be made in accordance with the college's Policy on Policies.
Related Davidson College Policies
Date of Adoption: April 21, 2011
Last Revised: September 4, 2014