Responsible Conduct of Research
The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) endorses Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) on its campus and expects its employees and students to abide by pertinent rules, policies, guidelines and regulations.
In January of 2010, The National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented Sections 7008 and 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (Public Law 110-69-August 9, 2007).
Section 7008 (42 USC 1862o) requires that all grant applications which include funding to support postdoctoral researchers include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals, and shall ensure that this part of the application is evaluated under the Foundation’s broader impacts merit review criterion. Mentoring activities may include career counseling, training in preparing grant applications, guidance on ways to improve teaching skills, and training in research ethics. In addition, all progress reports for research grants that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a description of the mentoring activities provided to such researchers.
Section 7009 (42 USC 1862o–1) requires that all grant applications for financial assistance from the NSF for science and engineering research or education include a description in each grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project. To that end, the Office of Sponsored Projects has developed procedures for meeting the minimum requirements that are available at no cost to the research community.
Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established policy that, "…requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. This Notice applies to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R. This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements." OT-OD-10-019
RCR Verbiage for Applications
As required by NSF and NIH, any proposal submitted for funding consideration must contain a section describing mentoring activities and training in the responsible conduct of research.
OSP does not provide writing services for the research community. However, the following language may help individuals craft their RCR section for an NRSA application. NOTE: this is just suggested language and does not replace nor supersede any language provided by an individual’s faculty sponsor or college:
You should state whether or not you and your mentor/faculty supervisor have planned ethics “upkeep” during your program (i.e., meeting once a month, once a semester, annual RCR check-in…? Will you be taking any specific courses or training modules (e.g. CITI course, CW 512), etc.
Institutional Training and Resources
The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) endorses Responsible Conduct of Research on its campus and requires its employees and students to abide by pertinent rules, policies, guidelines and regulations. To that end, UT-Austin has established various resources to support the research enterprise of its faculty, staff and students:
The Office of Sponsored Projects provides at no cost online RCR training modules through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) for students, faculty and staff. The modules cover: Misconduct; Responsible Authorship and Publication; Plagiarism; Conflict of Interest; Data Acquisition and Management; Responsible Peer Review; Responsible Mentoring; and Responsible Collaboration. This institutionally-sponsored training is in addition to any program-driven training offered to students by their respective colleges and departments.
The Office of Research Support and Compliance (RSC) periodically provides in-person Responsible Conduct of Research workshops and information sessions. For more information about upcoming sessions, email Mercedes James, Assistant Director, Research Integrity.
RSC is responsible for three main areas: the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The goal is to promote the responsible conduct of research conducted by faculty, staff, and students complies with all applicable laws, regulations, and University policies.
- Human Subjects
- Animal Subjects
- rDNA and Biosafety
The Institutional Biosafety Committee has a training module (CW 512) that specifically covers the NIH rules and regulations for rDNA research, including human gene transfer.
- The Graduate School provides ethics training that includes modules on: 1) Human Research; 2) Animal Research; and 3) Academic Integrity.
- Handbook of Operating Procedures
UT-Austin has a Research Integrity Officer and has an established process for handling suspected instances of scientific or other scholarly misconduct. The handbook is accessible by everyone online.
- The Information Security Office (ISO)
The ISO's mission is to create a secure computing environment in which the university community can teach, learn and conduct research. All members of our community have a responsibility to do their part to support this mission.
- Intellectual Property (Copyright)
Doctoral candidates are required to provide documentation of taking the university's Copyright Tutorial and passing the associated test. The tutorial may be taken anytime before turning in the dissertation, but students are advised to take it early in candidacy, as it is designed to educate the student on the frequently confusing and changing copyright laws.