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Required Training Courses

Memorial Sloan Kettering is dedicated to ensuring that all our postdoctoral researchers receive training not only in areas associated directly with their research projects but also in broader issues related to ethics, personal and professional responsibility, and safety. As part of the Center’s commitment to excellence, we require all postdoctoral researchers to complete the following important training courses:

Responsible Code of Conduct

To help foster a culture of responsibility within our institution and to respond to the increasingly rigorous national regulatory environment, we have created a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course. This course, developed by our Division of Research and Technology Management and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, is closely aligned with National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation guidelines for education and training in this area.

We require that all postdoctoral researchers take our RCR course during their first year at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Upon your arrival at Memorial Sloan Kettering you will receive an email containing information regarding registration and general course instructions. The goals of the course are to:

  • heighten your awareness of ethical considerations that are important to the conduct of research
  • inform you of federal, state, and institutional policies and procedures
  • provide you with critical analysis and problem-solving skills for ethical decision making

The course is given once a year, in the fall, and consists of a self-paced, web-based tutorial covering the following topics:

  • Research misconduct (including whistle-blowing and dispute resolution)
  • Data management
  • Use of animal subjects
  • Use of human subjects
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Authorship, publication, and peer review
  • Collaboration
  • Mentoring

Participants can complete the eight-topic modules online. These include a ten-question short-answer exam on each topic. You will also need to attend four face-to-face sessions.

The online curriculum is accessible through the Memorial Sloan Kettering Intranet (or through VPN) from August 31 through December 31. The live sessions are held monthly from September through December. Check the course website  for exact days and times.

Biosafety and Fire Safety Training

Everyone who handles hazardous materials or works in an area where hazardous materials are used is required to undergo training in biosafety and fire safety. This training is important for ensuring not only your safety but the safety of everyone working around you. You must complete the training immediately after you start working at Memorial Sloan Kettering and then annually after that.

Courses are held once a month. Find information about dates and times on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Intranet.

Radiation Safety Training

If you are using radioactive material in your experiments or directly handling radioactive material, you are required to take our radiation safety training course. This course is also required for anyone who uses an irradiator.

Training is required even if you have already received radiation safety training at another institution, as our rules and requirements may be different from what you learned elsewhere. Radiation monitoring badges will be issued after you have completed the training.

The training covers:

  • Radioactive material policies and procedures
  • Fundamentals of radioactivity
  • Sources of ionizing radiation
  • Biologic effects and risks
  • Radiation dose control
  • Radiation and contamination monitoring
  • Responsibilities for radiation protection
  • Emergency response

For training dates, see the radiation safety training schedule posted in common areas. This schedule is also available from the radiation safety office.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene require that anyone with unescorted access to radioactive materials in quantities of concern be evaluated for trustworthiness and reliability. If you use radioactive materials at Memorial Sloan Kettering, you may be subject to review involving:

  • Fingerprinting and an FBI identification and criminal history records check
  • Verification of employment history
  • Verification of education
  • Personal references/professional references
  • Criminal background check
  • Exclusions report from the Office of the Inspector General

Separate training is required to use radioactive materials in animals.

Animal Use and Care Training

The Research Animal Resource Center (RARC) of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides facilities, services, and information to assist in research using laboratory animals.

There are two processes that must be completed before a postdoctoral researcher is allowed access to the animal facility:

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) for whom the postdoctoral researcher is working must add the new staff member to an approved Animal Use Protocol.
  • The PI or research fellow must submit an Animal Facility Access Authorization form to the RARC administrative staff in ZRC-920. You can access this form on the RARC section of OneMSK or by calling the main office of RARC at 646-888-2400. The Employee Health and Wellness Service (EHWS) will review the Access Authorization form and evaluate whether the research fellow meets the Occupational Health and Safety program requirements for working with the species on the protocol. If the fellow requires additional testing, the EHWS will work directly with the fellow to schedule the remaining tests. EHWS will notify RARC Education and Quality Assurance staff when testing is completed, and access will be granted at that time.

The Education and Quality Assurance (EQA) service of RARC provides general facility orientation sessions for new researchers twice monthly. Attendance is required for anyone working with animals in his or her research.

Postdoctoral researchers should contact the EQA service for an introduction to the animal facility and to determine their specific training requirements for working with animals.


For more information and to register, please visit the RCR webpage.