|NSF 2010 RCR Requirement|
These guidelines are enumerated in detail in the January 2010 NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, specifically in Part I - Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II. C.1e and in Part II - Award and Administration Guide, Chapter IV.B. Additional details on the implementation, including responses to the concerns submitted by the community during the open comment period, are included in the Federal Register Notice of August 20, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 160). The pertinent excerpts from these sections are quoted later in this article.
Developing an RCR Training Plan
Institutions developing training plans for their postdoctoral scholars therefore should be responsive to the unique needs of these early-career researchers. Many postdocs have not received formal training in RCR, and this is more often true for international postdocs who comprise the majority of postdocs working in the U.S. Any training program should be cognizant of the breadth of cultural diversity among postdocs, and among graduate students, and that some cultural and research norms may differ; for example, the norms for attribution, record keeping and assignment of authorship. The NPA finds that postdocs are more likely to engage in a program that has clear implications for career development. When designing a training curriculum, consider embedding ethics issues alongside training in research and professional development topics, such as authorship practices with scientific publishing tips or peer review principles with grant writing guidance. Finally, take into account other unique issues for postdocs, such as the implications of short-term appointments on data ownership, the dual role they fill of both mentor and mentee, and postdocs' dependence upon their supervisor for career advancement, which can influence conflict management in the lab/research group. Guidance on these needs and approaches for establishing effective training programs for postdocs can be found in the NPA's RCR Toolkit.
Some additional suggestions:
1. Find out how NIH-funded trainees on training grants satisfy their RCR training requirement. You may be able to generalize this training to include NSF-funded trainees.
Excerpts from NSF Guidelines:
Implementation Plan from Federal Register Notice:
Implementation Plan: Effective January 4, 2010, NSF will require that, at the time of proposal submission to NSF, a proposing institution's Authorized Organizational Representative certify that the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research. While training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF, institutions are advised that they are subject to review upon request. NSF will formally implement the new RCR requirement via an update to the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG). It is anticipated that the revisions to the PAPPG will be issued on October 1, 2009. NSF also will modify its standard award conditions to clearly stipulate that institutions are responsible for verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research have received RCR training. In addition, NSF will support the development of an on-line RCR resource containing research findings, pedagogical materials, and promising practices regarding RCR in science and engineering. The development and evolution of the ongoing online RCR resource will be informed by the research communities that NSF supports, and it will serve as a living resource of multimedia materials that may be used to train current and future generations of scientists and engineers in RCR.
2. Institutional Responsibilities
[*]Note that NIH has recently updated its requirements on RCR training, including the addition of the last recommended RCR topic: "the scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research." For more information, see: http://www.grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-10-019.html.
NSF Federal Register Notice on RCR Implementation: Federal Register Notice of August 20, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 160)
NPA RCR Toolkit: http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/rcr-toolkit
ORI's RCR Education Materials Clearinghouse http://ori.dhhs.gov/education/products/
National Academy of Engineering Workshop Report: Ethics Education and Scientific and Engineering Research: What's Been Learned? What Should be Done? http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12695