Responsible Conduct of Research

While there is a federal mandate of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) instruction for all NIH funded trainees, RCR training is mandatory for all Weill Cornell Medicine Postdoctoral Scholars independent of their funding source. This is a strong commitment of Weill Cornell Medicine as a research institution dedicated to promoting the value of the responsible research within its community of graduate students, post-docs and faculty. As a result, WCM requires a formal RCR course that is designed to meet all NIH and NSF requirements.

Goals of the RCR Course

  1. Heighten trainees’ awareness to ethical considerations relevant to conducting research;
  2. Inform trainees of federal, state and institutional policies, regulations and procedures applicable to the ethical conduct of research; and
  3. Provide trainees with the opportunity to discuss, in a relatively informal setting, with senior faculty and among their peers, the implications of these policies and procedures for their own behavior in a research environment.

The RCR course is a tri-institutional program between Weill Cornell Medicine, Sloan Kettering Institute, and The Rockefeller University. The course is organized and run by Sloan Kettering Institute. 

Course Components & Criteria

The course will be offered in its entirety twice a year — in the fall from September to December and in the spring from January to April. Participants may register for one or the other, but it must be completed within a single semester. Those who start and don’t finish successfully will be required to repeat the course in its entirety the following semester.

Participants are required to complete the nine online modules (three parts with three modules each), which include a ten-question short-answer exam for each module, and attend all four live sessions: an orientation plus three face-to-face topic sessions for a total of eight hours of classroom instruction within the three-month period.

Topics Include:

  • Research Misconduct (including whistleblowing and dispute resolution)
  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  • Rigor and Reproducibility
  • Safe Laboratory Practices
  • Animal Welfare
  • Use of Human Subjects
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Authorship and Responsible Publication Practices
  • Peer Review
  • Collaboration
  • Mentoring
  • The Scientist and Social Responsibility (including DURC and Export Control)

RCR Faculty Participation

The small-group session facilitators include junior and senior faculty members from the three sponsoring institutions (Weill Cornell Medicine, Sloan Kettering Institute and The Rockefeller University), as well as senior administrators whose responsibilities include research compliance or integrity, all of whom serve as role models in this training.

RCR Frequency of Instruction

RCR training is mandated for first and fifth year graduate students, post-doctoral scholars and all other trainees who are federally funded from NIH Training Grants (T32, T34, R25) or Career Awards (F, K series), among others. Fifth-year graduate students and trainees have the option to either take the RCR course again or act as a facilitator for the course.


Fall 2018 Schedule

Register online here for the fall 2018 course.

Registration for the fall 2018 course will close on September 30th – those who miss the deadline will have to take the spring 2019 course.

Once your registration is confirmed, please take the online fall 2018 RCR Pre-survey.


Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 4-6 pm

Location: ZRC Auditorium, 417 E. 68th St.

Makeup Orientation

Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 4-6 pm

Location: ZRC Auditorium, 417 E. 68th St.

Small Group Session #1

Thursday, October 9, 2018, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Topics: Research Misconduct, Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing, & Ownership, Enhancing Reproducibility (videos), Safe Laboratory Practices, Animal Welfare

Small Group Session #2

Thursday, November 8, 2018, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Topics: Authorship and Responsible Publication Practices, Peer Review, Use of Human Subjects

Small Group Session #3

Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.

Topics: Conflicts of Interest, Collaboration and Mentoring, The Scientist and Social Responsibility

End of Course Reception

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 from 6 p.m.-7 p.m.

Location: ZRC Atrium

Additional REQUIRED 3-hr. Workshop: “Reproducibility, Replication, Rigor, and Transparency in the Scientific Enterprise” – Wednesday, October 24 in ZRC Auditorium

If you cannot attend one of the above dates, contact for alternative makeup sessions.

Important Notes Regarding Course Completion
  • The course must be completed within one semester. (For instance, an individual may not start the course in the fall and finish it in the spring.)
  • Failure to complete the RCR course within a single semester will require taking the course again in its entirety.
  • Signed rosters are maintained by RCR course directors to document attendance. Attendees are provided a certificate of attendance upon completion of the course.

Postdocs who have completed an equivalent RCR course within the last four years may request a waiver to be excused. Documentation including the course syllabus and proof of completion must be submitted to the course director before a waiver can be granted. However, trainees who have completed the course more than four years ago, are required by NIH guidelines to take a refresher course or serve as a facilitator for the small group sessions.


For additional information about the tri-institutional Responsible Conduct of Research course, please contact Dr. Randi B. Silver, WCM Director, RCR or Dominic Nunziato, MSKCC Research Outreach Coordinator. For a letter of support for grant application, please contact Dr. Randi B. Silver.


Office of Postdoctoral Affairs 1300 York Ave, Suite A-139 New York, NY 10065 Phone: