NSF and NIH Requirements

National Science Foundation

On August 20, 2009, the National Science Foundation (NSF) implemented section 7009 of the American COMPETES Act (74 FR 42126  [PDF]) requiring RCR education.  For proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010 and subsequently awarded, institutions are responsible for verifying that undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research have received (RCR) training.  The CITI RCR online program is being utilized to meet the NSF requirement.

For NSF awards resulting from proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010, RCR education needs to be completed by undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers prior to them receiving any financial support from the award.   It does not need to be completed at the time the proposal is submitted. 

Proposal Guidance:

NSF requires PIs to submit a mentoring plan with any proposal that will support postdocs. Guidelines have been developed for mentoring plans that may be used in addressing RCR in grant applications available in the Mentoring Plans in Research, Career Development and Training Proposals–Guidelines for Principal Investigators (PDF)

Sample NSF plans

Section 7008: Mentoring Plans for all postdoctoral fellows. (42 USC 1862o)

  • Each proposal that contains postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. The mentoring plan must not exceed one page.
  • Mentoring activities may include career counseling, training in preparing grant applications, guidance on ways to improve teaching skills, and training in research ethics.
  • In addition, all progress reports for research grants that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include a description of the mentoring activities provided to such researchers.

National Institute of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires RCR education for designated award types (Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (Institutional and Individual), Research Education Grants, Dissertation Research Grants other grant programs with a training component that requires instruction in responsible conduct of research). 

The NIH Policy on Responsible Conduct of Research Education (NIH Notice NOT-OD-10-019) applies to all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. The CITI RCR modules may be used to partially satisfy the NIH requirements.

Additional information and resources to comply with the training requirements are available in the NIH RCR Guidelines (PDF).

Proposal Guidance:

Individual Development Plans for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows requires that a formal mentoring plan (IDP) be generated for all trainees (NOT-OD-13-093 and NOT-OD-14-113).

Sample NIH Mentoring Plans