Grants & Faculty Scholarship

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for NSF grants

I. Background

II. Policy Statement

III. Procedures

I. Background

In 2007, Congress passed the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in  Technology, Education, and Science) Act, which required that ``each institution that applies for financial assistance from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for science and engineering research or education describe in its 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.''

For every grant it holds from the National Science Foundation (submitted or due after 1/4/2010), Reed must ensure that it has provided all relevant personnel with adequate training on the responsible conduct of research.

Prior to 2012, Reed partnered with, an organization that provided online tutorials on the responsible conduct of research. In 2012, this service was taken over by EthicsCORE. The Faculty Grants Manager at Reed is responsible for creating user accounts, and for certifying that grant personnel have completed the requisite training within the time frame specified in III(4) below. 

II. Policy Statement

In order to address the RCR requirement, Reed has adopted the following policy, which applies to all grants from the National Science Foundation submitted on or after 1/4/10.

  1. When a member of the faculty receives a grant from the National Science Foundation, she will provide the Faculty Grants Manager with the name and contact information for each person who works on the grant. (If the people are not employed at the time the grant is received, the faculty member will notify the Faculty Grants Manager at the time they are hired.)
  1. The faculty grants manager will create a user account for relevant personnel at EthicsCORE.
  1. The personnel working on the grant will receive notification from the Faculty Grants Manager that they have a working account at EthicsCORE, and that they are expected to complete the tutorials pertaining to the responsible conduct of research.
  1. Employees who are paid by the hour (as opposed to salaried employees) can use the time spent on the online tutorial as paid work time.
  1. Lab personnel must show, before the termination of the grant or the conclusion of their association with Reed College, whichever is first, that they have completed the training as required by this policy. 

III. Procedures

A. Registration

When the name of a person who is required by NSF policy to take the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training, the Grants & Special Gifts Officer at Reed, who is the manager of the Reed College RCR group, will send an invitation to that person via email. To register, please follow the steps below: 

1. Email will arrive from “Ethics CORE Groups” (

2. Keep this email open, because you now have to do two things:

    a. Register for an account with Ethics CORE

    b. Join the Reed RCR group. 

3. To register, select the link in the lower portion of the email:

4. After you’ve registered, a confirmation email will arrive. Click on the link in that email, login using your username and password, and your account will be activated.

5. Next, return to the first email (the invitation) you received from Ethics CORE, and click on the link inviting you to join the Reed College RCR group. That email will look like this:  but following the word “token” will be a unique string of characters. Click on that link, and you will be taken to the “Reed College RCR” page. You should now see your name under the list of group members.

Congratulations. You are now registered, and can begin taking the RCR modules.

B. To Take the RCR Modules

Before taking the modules, you must affiliate yourself with a group whose members are registered to take the modules. (Yes, you’ve already accepted the invitation to join the Reed College RCR group, but for some reason you have to follow an additional step to affiliate yourself.)

1. Click on the link in the blue horizontal band reading “RCR Modules from CMDITR”

2. Click the link attached to #3: “New Users: Fill out an RCR User Account Registration and we will affiliate you with your group.”

3. Under “What Group Are you Affiliated With?” scroll down through the list and select “Reed College RCR”

4. Click “Register”

5. You will now be taken to a page reading “Online Ethics Tutorials: Table of Contents”

6. The active links below are the sections of the tutorials you are required to complete as your RCR training.

7. You may now log out, if you wish, or you make take the modules now. As you complete each portion of the module, a red check mark will appear beside it in the table of contents.

8. The next time you login and select the “RCR Modules from CMDITR” link, you can select the option “Returning Users: Continue tutorials.”

9. As you progress through the modules, the group manager will be able to see your progress. Once you have completed the modules, your RCR requirement will be completed.


For questions related to this policy, please contact Jane Woodcock, Faculty Grants Manager.