Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Version Number: 3.0 
Effective Date: January 1, 2010
Latest Update: July 21, 2023
Title: Princeton University Responsible Conduct of Research Policy


The University believes that training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) is an essential component of graduate education and postdoctoral training. The National Science Foundation (NSF), a major source of Princeton's federal research funding, advocates a similar philosophy: "The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RECR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering." Similarly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) holds as a core principle the belief that "responsible conduct of research is a fundamental element of research training."

In 2010 when this policy was first implemented, the University committed to training all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and any other individuals who must satisfy training requirements specific to federally sponsored research. As part of this commitment to graduate education, an introductory RCR training module is being added to the training program for graduate students across all divisions, including humanities. The RCR training program as it is currently designed meets requirements from funding agencies, specifically the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), while providing flexibility to meet trainees' pedagogical needs, which can vary by discipline and trainee population.


Princeton's policy is to provide education in the responsible conduct of Research (RCR) to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers proactively as an important element in their training, and to faculty, undergraduate students, and other research personnel in compliance with requirements of federal research sponsors.

Who is Affected by this Policy

  1. Graduate students pursuing research-based master's programs or doctoral education
  2.  All postdoctoral researchers (postdoctoral research fellows and postdoctoral research associates) in the divisions of social sciences, natural sciences and engineering
  3. Undergraduate students, visiting student research collaborators (VSRC), and any other short-term researchers who are supposed by grants with RCR training requirements
  4. Faculty and other senior personnel conducting research supported by grants with RCR training requirements

Responsible Executives

Dean for Research
Dean of the Graduate School
Dean of the Faculty

Responsible Offices

Office of the Dean for Research
Office of Research and Project Administration
Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Contact Information

Elizabeth Adams
Office of Research and Project Administration
619 Alexander Road, Suite 102
e-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 609-258-3090
Fax: 609-258-1159 

Alice Seneres
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
005 Clio Hall
Tel  (609) 258-4959
Fax (609) 258-6180

Kristine Ryan
Assistant Dean of Compliance
Office of the Dean of the Faculty
206 Stanhope Hall
email: [email protected]
Tel (609) 258-2396

Undergraduates should seek advice from their home department as each department requirement varies.

Updated Log

1/13/15 - General language clean up and updates to federal agency information

5/9/23 - Re-written in the format of the University policy template and to improve clarity; added new requirements from federal sponsors, notably expectations regarding subject areas and training for faculty and senior personnel; added requirement for introductory RCR training for doctoral and research-based master's graduate students in all divisions.

6/12/23 - Administrative update to the USDA-NIFA section to reflect agency requirements.

University RCR Training Plan

Sponsored Research Requirements

Roles and Responsibilities

Applicable Individuals

In Labor Accounting, when allocating salary to chartstrings with RCR training requirements, the following alert will pop-up:

"Applicable Individuals must complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training to be paid from Project XXXXX. Non-compliance may result in the removal of all support for this individual. Resources: RCR status report in the Information Warehouse, RCR requirements and training options on the ORPA website."

Applicable Individuals include:

  • Graduate Students
  • Post-doctoral Researchers
  • Faculty / Senior-Key Personnel