November 17, 2009


SUBJECT:    Responsible Conduct of Research Requirement for NSF-Supported Undergraduates, Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars

Beginning January 4, 2010, the National Science Foundation is requiring that institutions receiving NSF awards have in place plans to provide undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars supported on NSF grants with training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). While there is no requirement that training plans be submitted with proposals, we must certify that all eligible students and scholars receive some form of training and provide access to these training plans at the agency's request. Institutions are being provided maximum flexibility in creating and implementing RCR programs to meet this new requirement.

At UCSD, we recognize that there are differences between the education and research experiences of the target groups receiving RCR training, and we are designing programs and choices to meet these different needs. Current planned options for UCSD undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars are listed below:

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars Existing courses and workshops are available through the UCSD Research Ethics Program at:

Undergraduate Students
The Office of Research Affairs is coordinating with UCOP and other UC campuses to develop an online training for undergraduate students, projected to be released in Spring 2010. In the interim, undergraduates will receive a handout on major RCR topics as part of the student employment packets they receive from the academic unit in which they will conduct their research. Academic units may choose to provide the handout to all student employees, not just those supported on NSF grants. Students will sign a statement acknowledging their understanding of the RCR handout, which will be retained in their employee file. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (

Arthur B. Ellis
Vice Chancellor for Research