Research Policy and Compliance  /  Compliance  /  Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research

Caltech researchers are expected to adhere to the highest professional standards in the conduct of research. As set out by the Faculty Handbook, faculty members are charged by the Institute with the responsibility to safeguard the basic principles of research integrity, academic freedom, and public interest. When government funds are involved in the support of research, the Institute's accountability to the government and the public requires that the investigators take particular care to obey all rules and regulations of the government and the sponsoring agencies.

Students and Postdoctoral Appointees are expected to follow these same principles and rules. As part of their education, all graduate students and postdocs are required to take specialized training in research ethics and responsibility (RCR training). Required RCR is provided as an online course from CITI and available through ACESS Caltech. NSF and NIH also require RCR training. The specific requirements are described in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training for Students and Postdoctoral Researchers Supported by NSF or as Trainees on NIH Training Grants.

All students and postdocs participating in research on NSF projects at Caltech must take and pass the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course in Responsible Conduct in Research, available at access.caltech.edu.

Participants' progress will be tracked and recorded with the intent that all participants complete the program by the end of the first full academic term during which they are supported by NSF funds. If a student or postdoc can document having passed a similar, qualifying program at Caltech or another institution, Caltech will accept that in place of completing Caltech's program. Completion of Bi252 can be substituted for the CITI training.

NIH requires substantial face-to-face training for successful completion of the NIH RCR requirement. To fulfill this requirement, students or postdocs must successfully complete Bi252, Responsible Conduct of Research, which is offered in the fall term. Students should enroll in the class; postdocs please contact the instructor to arrange participation/attendance.

Instruction must be taken at least once during each career stage of the individual, and not less than once every four years. Participants' progress will be tracked and recorded with the intent that all participants complete the program by the end of the first spring term during which they are supported by NIH funds. Participants may take the course before the funding is awarded.