Carnegie Mellon University


What is RCR?

The acronym RCR stands for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

What topics does RCR include?

As defined by federal agencies, RCR encompasses the following nine areas: research misconduct, human participants, research involving animals, data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership, mentor/trainee responsibilities, publication practices and responsible authorship, peer review, collaborative science, and conflicts of interests.

Why is the training required?

To comply with the Congressional mandate under the America Competes Act and to demonstrate the CMU commitment to providing the highest quality education for all students and scholars. Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research is essential to produce the best scientists and researchers for the future.

What is the America COMPETES Act?

The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 or America COMPETES Act was enacted to ensure our nation’s competitive position in the world through improvements in math and science education and a strong commitment to research.

Who is required to take RCR training?

Undergraduates, Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers who are supported on an NSF or listed NIH sponsored project.

How do I access the online training?

Current CITI Users:

  • Log-in as usual;
  • From the Main Menu screen select "Add a course or update you learner groups for Carnegie Mellon University"; 
  • Select the RCR course closest to your area of study; and
  • Take the course at your convenience.

New CITI Users:

  • Select the  New Users "Register Here" link on the CITI homepage
  • Create a user account.  Please use your CMU e-mail address and your name as it appears in your official record at CMU.
  • Complete the required registration fields, making sure to select Carnegie Mellon University from the drop-down list of "Participating Institutions" in section #1;  
  • The system will take you through several screens including one where you can select which courses to take;  
  • Select the RCR course most closely related to your area of study;
  • Once you complete your enrollment you will automatically be taken to the Main Menu screen; and  
  • You can then begin taking the course or log-out and take the course on your own schedule.

What other types of training in the RCR are available?

Participation in interactive face-to-face training opportunities (workshops, symposia and classes). A schedule of current workshops can be found under the ORIC website heading 'RCR training'.

How often is training required?

The online training component is required one time only. Interactive sessions and RCR events are scheduled each month during the academic year and encouraged for faculty, staff, students supported on a sponsored project and postdoctoral researchers. Additionally, the Principal Investigator or other qualified person will address various RCR topics in the research setting while students and postdoctoral researchers are participating in research activities.  The goal of the additional training is to provide engagement and mentoring of students and postdoctoral researchers to understand, discuss, and apply responsible conduct of research in the research environment.

Does taking the CITI RCR online training program count for Human Subjects Training?

No.  Human Subject Protections require additional specific training for certification in the areas prescribed by federal regulatory requirements and institutional policies of the Institutional Review Board.  See the ORIC website heading ‘Human Subjects Training’  for additional training information.

Does the CITI online training plan count for animal care and use training?

No.  Animal Welfare requires additional specific training for certification in this area as required by federal regulations and institutional policies of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Do undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers paid by cost share accounts have to complete the training requirements?


Is the RCR training requirement the same thing as NSF’s “Postdoctoral Mentoring Requirement”?

No, the Postdoctoral Mentoring requirement is a separate initiative requiring the submission of a mentoring plan that is described in a supplemental document specific to each proposal submission. The plan is considered during the merit review process.

Will I receive a certificate when my training is complete? 

Yes, CITI provides a certificate upon completion of the RCR online training course.  ORIC sends out a certificate of completion to individuals who have attended RCR training events offered by CMU at the end of each semester.

Who maintains the RCR training records?

The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) maintains RCR records.

Where can I go to learn more about RCR? 

The ORIC RCR website provides many additional resources and events. Check back often as the site is regularly updated with new events and information.

Who may I contact with questions? 

Email: or Cathy O'Domes at