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LSA RCRS Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship about?

NIH and NSF are satisfying the American COMPETES Act by asking students and postdoctoral fellows supported by research or training grants to complete instruction in the responsible conduct of research. This must be in the form of small, interactive, face-to-face meetings, which units on the UM campus are handling in different ways. LSA has decided to meet the requirement through classroom instruction.

Undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-docs working on NSF and NIH grants submitted after January 4, 2010 are required to participate in training.

Who needs training?

Currently, students and post-docs supported by NIH and NSF on research or training grants, though we expect other agencies will move in this direction. Students on fellowships such as the NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants (DDIG) should be part of the training.

Students on USDA NIFA grants must take the PEERRS online module, "Foundations of Good Research Practices" to satisfy the requirement and we will have them complete RCRS requirements.

How are students identified for training?

ITS developed an automated process that identifies students and post-docs who require training. Currently, temp hourly appointments are not part of the query to identify training needs. The LSA Dean's Office runs reports and sends information to business managers in LSA departments on a monthly basis to communicate the names of students who need training.

What topics are covered in the training?

  • appropriate citation of sources and avoiding plagiarism
  • authorship and publication practices and responsibilities
  • acquisition, management, ownership and sharing of data
  • research misconduct, including data fabrication and falsification
  • personal, professional and financial conflicts of interest
  • supervisory and mentoring relationships and responsibilities
  • responsibilities of collaborative research
  • protection of human beings and welfare of laboratory animals when research involves human participants and animal subjects

How did LSA design training?

LSA leverages the Wolverine Access system and offers courses, so the normal tracking mechanism (course registration, grades, service indicators) can help with record keeping. We developed University Course UC 415 (for natural sciences) and UC 416 (for social sciences) to satisfy the training requirement. These one-credit courses allow departments to offer a section of the course, if they do not already have a course that covers the topics.  Effective Fall 2014, most LSA departments incorporated RCRS training into specific departmental courses to satisfy the Rackham requirement.

Are there other courses that satisfy the requirement?

Some departments teach their own course that covers the RCRS topics. Currently Chemistry, Economics, Ecology and Evoluntionary Biology,  Earth and Environmental Sciences, MCDB, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Statistics have a course that satisfies federal the requirement. Some other LSA departments (MCDB, Biophysics) ask students to take PIBS 503 as part of their regular program requirements.

If a department wants to have a course reviewed to offer as an RCRS course, please send the syllabus to Linda Chadwick (   

How long is training?

While the policy requires at least 8 hours of face-to-face instruction in small groups, the 1-credit UC 415/416 course requires 14 hours. This can be offered as a full-term or half-term course.

How do post-docs register for training?

Since post-docs are not able to register in Wolverine Access as a student, they must let the instructor know that they are participating in the course. Once the post-doc successfully completes the course, the instructor (or department staff) must send the name, emplid, and uniqname to Linda Chadwick so a "training completed" service indicator can be manually added in Wolverine Access.

What happens when grad students taking a 995 "free course" need to register?

Taking an RCRS course along with the "free" course that is part of any 995 registration sometimes generates a higher tuition bill for a student. Since this is a federal mandate, we decided to accommodate this small number of students the same way as post-docs; they must identify themselves as participating in the course and they will get credit for taking the training upon successful completion of the course. The students' name, emplid, and uniqname need to be reported in the same way as the post-doc example above.

Once training is complete, how is it captured?

ITS has been notified of the courses in LSA that fulfill the federal requirement. Once a course is completed and the instructor enters a grade, a "training completed" service indicator (RCF) is added to the student or post-doc record in Wolverine Access.

What about students on grants in ISR or other units?

The funding unit is the key determinant in where the training should take place. For example, LSA students who are funded on a grant in ISR are the responsibility of ISR; however, they may do training in LSA if they choose. 

Who is managing this program in LSA?

Associate Dean Chris Poulsen ( and Linda Chadwick ( are the contacts for questions about the RCRS implementation in LSA.


(Updated: 12-4-18)