Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) Training

Responsible conduct of research is the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.
~ NIH, NOT-OD-10-019

The University of Michigan is committed to fostering and upholding the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research and scholarship.

U-M follows all federal and state guidelines regarding RCRS training for principal investigators, scholars, trainees, staff, and students. As part of our ongoing commitment to strengthen the culture of ethical research and compliance across U-M, all employees and students engaged in research and scholarship are required to complete RCRS training.

An updated RCRS course, which is part of the Program for Education and Evaluation in Responsible Research and Scholarship (PEERRS) and is designed to meet federal and institutional requirements, must be completed by June 30, 2021. This requirement applies to all U-M employees and students engaged in any facet of research and scholarship, regardless of internal or external support, including (but not limited to):


Subject matter: Successful RCR training programs include instruction in:

  1. Conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial
  2. Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  3. Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  4. Collaborative research including collaborations with industry
  5. Peer review
  6. Data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership
  7. Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  8. Responsible authorship and publication
  9. The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research
  • Publishing activities (journal articles, book writing, literary criticism, legal research, technical and institutional research reports, literature reviews, and historical scholarship, among other forms)
  • Oral or poster presentations of research/scholarship
  • Collection and analysis of data, information, biospecimens or records
  • Inclusion as personnel on sponsored research or scholarship grants/awards
  • Inclusion as personnel on internally funded research or scholarship grants/awards
  • Development and/or leadership of centers that generate new knowledge, research or scholarship
  • Media contributions
  • Creative expression/performance and visual arts activities (compositions, presentations, performances, exhibits and similar projects)

A. RCRS requirement for the U-M research and scholarship community: All persons engaged in research and scholarship, including faculty, postdocs/fellows, students, and staff, shall complete the PEERRS-RCRS online course. This course meets the minimal requirements for all individuals engaged in research and scholarship, including NSF and USDA NIFA RCR requirements for all trainee populations.

PEERRS-RCRS completion certifications are valid for three (3) years from the last completion date.

  • Training must be completed by June 30, 2021
  • New hires must complete training within 30 days.

B. RCR requirement for NIH-supported trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars: In addition to completing the PEERRS-RCRS online course, those receiving support though applicable NIH training and career development grants (e.g., D, T, F, and K type awards) must participate in an appropriate instructor-led RCR training course/workshop for a minimum of eight (8) contact hours. Training must be completed at least once during each career stage, and no less than once every four years. This instructor-led training must be completed within one (1) year of being awarded or added to an applicable NIH grant. These sessions will continue to be organized and conducted by appropriate schools, colleges, and/or training programs.

C. Rackham Graduate School RCRS requirement for Ph.D. students: The Rackham Graduate School has an academic requirement that all Ph.D. students complete RCRS training before advancing to candidacy. The training must include eight (8) hours of instructor-led contact. These sessions will continue to be organized and conducted by appropriate schools and colleges. The instructor-led RCRS courses that some units have established for training Ph.D. students may also satisfy the NIH RCR training requirement in B (above), if they meet content and format requirements. (

To meet the NIH (B) and Rackham (C) requirements, each U-M school/college has developed an RCRS training program for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Contact your school/college(link is external) for information regarding this RCRS training. An individual with a U-M faculty title but receiving support from an applicable NIH grant would still be required to complete RCR training as described in (B).

RCRS Training Quick Reference Chart

  Funding source
Individuals All (sponsored, internal, or unfunded) NIH training and career development awards
Undergrad and Masters students PEERRS-RCRS Instructor-led
Doctoral Students PEERRS-RCRS and instructor-led**
Postdocs, fellows, and residents PEERRS-RCRS Instructor-led*
Faculty PEERRS-RCRS Instructor-led*


* Requirement for instructor-led training in addition to online PEERRS-RCRS course and applies to individuals with the following type of NIH awards: 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, and TU2 grants

** All Rackham doctoral students must complete both types of training (online and instructor-led), regardless of funding source.

The University’s online Program for Education & Evaluation in Responsible Research and Scholarship (PEERRS) offers eLearning courses for research investigators and others at U-M to fulfill compliance-specific training regulations, such as export control, RCRS, and human subjects protections.


What grant types are included in the instructor-led RCR requirement from NIH?

Per NOT-OD-10-019, the instructor-led RCR requirement applies to “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.”

Can the U-M PEERRS-RCRS requirement be met with training I have completed in Good Clinical Practice (CGP) or PEERRS Human Subjects Research Protections module?

While some of the material in GCP and PEERRS Human Subjects Research Protections is similar to some material covered in a RCRS course, they are completely different training requirements. Completion of CGP and PEERRS Human Subjects Research Protections does not replace the requirement to complete the RCRS training course. Likewise, the RCRS training course does not replace CGP and PEERRS Human Subjects Research Protection.

Who can I contact with questions regarding instructor-led RCRS training?

For questions regarding instructor-led RCRS training, please contact your unit/school. Please contact the RCRS team, for questions regarding general or PEERRS-RCRS training requirements. Please contact if an alternative training option is needed due to visual impairment or other ADA compliance reasons.

I can’t log into My LINC to complete the training. Who can I contact?

For help with My LINC navigation or browser pop-up blockers, contact the ITS Service Center at 734-764-HELP [4357] or

I am not engaged in research or scholarship but received an email saying I need to complete the PEERRS-RCRS course. Who can I contact?

Please contact RCRS team with your contact information and job description. UMOR will request you complete an attestation that you are not engaged in research and scholarship and will remove the PEERRS-RCRS course from your required training in My LINC.

Can the PEERRS-RCRS course count for the NIH instructor-led RCR training?

No, NIH requires that RCR training be conducted in-person for a minimum of eight (8) contact hours and include instructor-led discussions. Online instruction, such as the PEERRS-RCRS course, is not sufficient.

What is the difference between RCR and RCRS? Why does U-M require training for those only engaged in scholarship?

Historically, RCR training has included instruction related to the conduct of research only. U-M recognizes the importance of scholarship and scholarly activities to the academic endeavor and therefore has chosen to prepare our current and future scholars with the same standards of integrity delivered to researchers. Additionally, as the U-M SPG 303.03 (Policy Statement on the Integrity of Scholarship) applies to allegations of misconduct in both research and scholarship, U-M believes it is vital that all individuals be trained in the ethical and responsible standards held by U-M.

References and Resources

NIH RCR Policy
National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy outlining responsible conduct of research training requirements for trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars. Includes a list of NIH programs and award types to which this policy applies.

NSF RCR Resources
National Science Foundation web page with links to policy, FAQs, etc. regarding responsible conduct of research training for undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF funds to conduct research.

USDA NIFA Resources
The United States Department of Agriculture National Institute Food and Agriculture webpage with a description regarding the RCR training for individuals supported by USDA NIFA grants.


For general questions regarding RCRS, email the RCRS team (

For questions regarding specific RCRS training programs, contact the applicable U-M school/college

For questions regarding PEERRS, see or email the PEERRS team (