Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

This course meets the NIH training requirement for all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award, research education grant, or dissertation research grant.

Harvard Chan School or other Harvard Catalyst institution affiliates, including, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty members will be allowed to take the course without paying tuition (if not taking this course for credit), but are expected to attend 6 lectures, participate in class discussions, and complete all course assignments.

Please note:

  • Harvard Chan School offers this course as a courtesy for those who are required to fulfill RCR training per the terms of their funding grant, but does not track proof of training or have the power to issue waivers for the course.  Please check with the NIH to determine whether you need RCR training.
  • This course is distinct from CITI Training, encompasses more than strictly Human Subjects Research, and must be completed in person per NIH requirements.
  • For applicable researchers, per NIH requirements, RCR “instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years.”
  • If you have taken an RCR course at another institution, you may already have fulfilled this requirement, check with NIH to confirm.
  • Click here for more information from NIH.

Grading Criteria

  • Pass/Fail for students who take the course for credit and register via the registrar’s office (Harvard Chan School only).
  • Certificate of Completion – for all participants who attend 6 lectures and complete all course assignments.


  • Graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty members from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health or other Harvard Catalyst institutions may take the course tuition free if no academic credit. A link will be posted a couple of months prior to the start of the course session to register to take the course for RCR certification alone (no academic course credit).  Contact to be notified when registration is open.
  • Those registering as a student to receive course credit will need to go through the Harvard Chan School’s Registrar’s office as usual.
  • The Harvard Chan School RCR course runs on Fridays from 11:30am-1:00pm, in-person on the HSPH Campus in Boston, MA for the first 8 weeks of the the Fall Semester.

Course Objectives

At the end of the course the students will be able to:

  • Describe the concepts of research misconduct and research integrity.
  • Describe basic ethical and regulatory requirements for conducting bench, animal, clinical, and public health research and apply them to research practice.
  • Recognize when laboratory practices, publication practices, collaborations and other research practices deviate from legal, ethical, or regulatory requirements.
  • Describe practices, including data safety and management, that promote compliance with ethical and legal requirements for the responsible conduct of research.
  • Understand what constitutes a safe research environment (e.g., those that promote inclusion and are free of sexual, racial, ethnic, disability and other forms of discriminatory harassment).

If you have any questions regarding the RCR course, Please contact Alyssa Speier  with any questions.