Basic Sciences RCR

Get Ready: Registration for Basic Sciences Responsible Conduct of Research Course - Winter 2025 course registration is coming in August.

The 2025 Basic Sciences Responsible Conduct of Research Course (RCR) is changing. The course will be delivered in Mission Bay, and each session will include a lecture followed by a breakout session offered every Wednesday, 2:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m., tentatively from January 15, 2025, through March 5, 2025. Mark your calendars to hold this time. You will receive a link to register in August 2024.

Both lectures and breakouts for sessions one through five will be delivered in person by UCSF faculty members. The final three lectures will be delivered via Zoom from 2:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. If you are a Postdoc approved to work via a UCSF telework agreement, please contact the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars in advance of registration.

The information on this page is for UCSF researchers engaged in basic sciences research seeking to meet the NIH requirements for training in responsible conduct in research. If your research involves human subjects or data derived from human subjects, please go to the Human Subjects RCR page.
The UCSF Basic Sciences Responsible Conduct of Research Program is designed to satisfy NIH and NSF requirements for training in the responsible conduct of research for postdoctoral scholars and faculty at all career levels. The Basic Sciences RCR Course utilizes a combination of in-person lectures, case studies, and faculty-facilitated discussions.

Basic Sciences Responsible Conduct of Research Course

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to ensure that basic sciences researchers are well versed with respect to training in responsible conduct in research (RCR). Attendees also gain an understanding of federal, state, and UCSF policies and resources available to further support their research endeavors.

Methods of Instruction:

  • Course meetings include lectures, case studies, and group discussions.
  • Discussion section meetings include case studies and interactive group discussions in smaller groups.

Discussion Topics Schedule

Session 1: The Reproducibility Crisis
  • Types of Scientific Research at UCSF
  • Views about Scientists as Responsible Members of Society
  • Best Practices in Rigor and Reproducibility - workshop
  • Anonymous survey on misconduct and reproducibility
  • Best Practices in Mentorship - workshop

Session 2: Research Misconduct and Social Responsibility

  • New Guidance on Foreign Influence and Research Security
  • Conflicts of Interest Overview & Importance of Addressing Conflicts
  • Contemporary Ethical issues in Biomedical Research
  • Social and Environmental Impacts of Research

Session 3: Responsible Authorship, Publication, and Peer Review

  • Best Practices in Data Management - Qualitative and Quantitative
  • New Federal Sharing Requirements
  • Developing a Data Management Plan (DMP)
  • Open AI, Generative AI, Data Manipulation and Plagiarism
  • Data transparency information from Nature and Cell Press journals (refer to comprehensive checklists)
  • Statistical Analysis of Biological Data (See UCSF Library Resources)
  • Data Sharing during PI Transitions

Session 4: Mentor/Mentee Responsibilities and Relationships

  • Human Subjects Research -- COVID-19 Vaccines and CRISPR Therapies
  • Informed Consent Monitoring
  • Protection of Laboratory Animals and the Role of Postdocs in Animal Welfare
  • Approved Lab Researchers and IACUC Protocols
  • Policies and Best Practices on Laboratory Safety, Biosafety, and Animal Research Subjects

Session 5: The Protection of Human Subjects and Welfare of Laboratory Animals

  • Best Practices in Authorship and Publication - workshop
  • Ethics and Ownership of Discoveries
  • New Guidance on Text Recycling
  • Practicing Responsible Peer review and Becoming a Reviewer

Session 6: Conflicts of Interest and Collaborative Research and Professionalism

  • Developing Inclusive Research Communities (Racism in Science)
  • Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Violence
  • Appropriate Support and Management of Postdocs with Disabilities
  • Bullying, Civility, Harassment, and Inappropriate Behavior in Research Environments
  • Effective Collaboration in Research

Session 7: Ethical Behavior in Mentoring Research Trainees

  • Appropriate Mentoring and Lab Relationships between PIs and Postdocs
  • Strategies for Having Difficult Conversations
  • Resolving Conflicts and Communicating with Impact
  • Mentor/Mentee Responsibilities and Relationships
  • Mentoring Frameworks and Self Advocacy

Session 8: UCSF Postdoc Trainee Ethics and Compliance Conflicts of Interest

  • Understand UCSF COI requirements for Postdocs UPAY585 - personal, professional, financial
  • Postdoc Outside Professional Activity at UCSF
  • Building a Career-Long Positive Attitude toward Research Ethics
  • Reporting UCSF Conflicts of Interest

Offered to UCSF researchers who conduct basic (non-human subjects) research, Basic Sciences RCR is an eight-session course designed to satisfy NIH and NSF requirements for training in the responsible conduct of research. The course utilizes a combination of faculty presentations and in-person case study discussions to address contemporary debates at the interface between biomedical science and society.

Basic Sciences RCR is offered once a year during the winter quarter, meeting weekly for eight weeks. Registration for the course opens in the preceding November/December.

In addition to in-person lectures and discussion groups, learners will also be given access to additional resources and are able participate in an online ethics forum. The online ethics forum provides a way for learners to continue class discussions; ask questions of course faculty and peers; post relevant articles, resources, and case studies; share their own experiences; and voice their concerns and opinions. The website is password-protected, and all comments remain confidential.

The course website also serves as a centralized repository of Basic Sciences RCR resources and information and is a site where postdocs from different campus locations can form a community and maintain contact.

Attendance at all sessions is required to receive a certificate or course completion letter. 

NIH Requirements

In general, NIH requires RCR training every four years and at each stage of training (graduate, postdoc, early faculty, etc). Basic Sciences RCR is a necessary, but not always sufficient, component of training in responsible conduct of research. Please be sure to contact your funding agency to inquire about additional requirements beyond those provided in Basic Sciences RCR.

Is Basic Sciences RCR for me?  Am I eligible and required to take the course?

Am I eligible to take Basic Sciences RCR? This class is open to all UCSF faculty and postdoctoral trainees who’s research is primarily wet lab based or computational using non-human subjects derived data. 5th year graduate students who need to take an RCR refresher course are also eligible, but should enroll in the RCR course that best fits their research agenda. If you have questions about your eligibility, please email the program coordinator at [email protected]

Am I required to take Basic Sciences RCR? The NIH, NSF, and other federal funders require all funded trainees to take Responsible Conduct of Research at least every four years and at least once per career level. This applies to all levels of training grants (e.g. T32 for postdoctoral scholars or K awards for faculty).

Postdoctoral scholars are strongly advised to take RCR in their first year of training, even if you received training recently as a graduate student. 

If you are not sure if you are required to take RCR, please contact us or your program administrator. Faculty and postdoctoral scholars not funded by NIH or NSF are still strongly encouraged to enroll. 

For Postdocs Applying to an NIH Fellowship (e.g., F or K awards)

A plan for instruction in RCR is required of all Fellowship applicants. The Basic Sciences RCR or Human Subjects RCR course is a key component of this requirement and may be supplemented by lectures, panel discussions, or colloquia providing refreshers on topics of specific ethical concern in the trainees’ field not covered by UCSF RCR courses. See the Training Program Faculty & Admin page for sample grant text on UCSF RCR offerings.

Basic Sciences RCR Current Contact

Dr. Chequeta Allen
[email protected]
Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Scholars
Office for Postdoctoral Scholars