Researchers have important professional and regulatory responsibilities related to the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), which is broadly defined as the practice of scholarship and scientific investigation with integrity. UCCS takes RCR training very seriously and such training is required for most federally funded trainees. RCR is essential to ensuring faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral researchers engage in research with the highest of standards.
RCR is everyone’s responsibility and requires vigilance and ongoing introspection. The Graduate School and the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity collaborate in the oversight of RCR training at UCCS. Through a competitive process, an RCR Faculty Fellow is selected each year to design and manage the face-to-face RCR workshops.
All trainees and faculty mentors are required to complete the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program. In addition, trainees and UCCS faculty mentors are required to participate in up to five, 2-hour, RCR active learning workshops. Participants register in advance and attendance at 5 sessions is required for NIH trainees and strongly encouraged for all investigators, funded or not. The RCR active learning workshops use multiple modes of learning, including case studies, role-playing, published papers on RCR, mock examples of data entry forms, IRB applications, mentoring contract templates, as well as book and film discussions. Each session is designed and implemented by the RCR Fellow who selects the content and presentation format for the session. Each session can be co-facilitated with a local expert as appropriate.
Faculty take part in the RCR training workshops as either participants or as the rotating local experts leading the session(s). Faculty investigators must also implement individualized RCR training that aligns with their labs, projects, and/or field site needs to ensure that any students, postdoctoral scholars, or other persons performing work on the project have received proper training and education in the area of Responsible Conduct of Research that is suitable to the particular research project. The RCR Faculty Fellow is themselves a faculty member who often partners with other faculty to prepare content.
Duration of Instruction
All NIH trainees receive at least 10 contact hours of education in RCR all the way up to 16 hours in an academic year. Anyone involved with research at UCCS is encouraged to participate as often as possible. The semester-long series rotates the topics (see subject matter below) such that, by the end of the academic year, at least 8 of 9 topics are covered. Summer make-up sessions are offered on an as-needed basis. Participants who complete 8 sessions (16 contact hours) receive an RCR Completion Certificate.
Frequency of Instruction
RCR training is offered at every stage of the scientific career with the intention of reengagement every four years. We promote RCR training to undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, pre-doctoral, post-doctoral researchers, pre-tenure faculty, and post-tenure faculty alike. Each career stage is offered a different RCR Completion Badge (e.g., early investigator; senior investigator) to encourage on-going circumspection.