Education and Training


To maintain an institutional culture that supports research integrity, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Weill Cornell Medicine, The Rockefeller University, and the Hospital for Special Surgery, offer a biannual Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course for research trainees. This course is intended to fulfill mandated requirements for RCR instruction as required by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other sponsoring agencies.

The course is designed for research trainees and others interested in ethical considerations regarding the responsible conduct of research in the scientific enterprise, and as such is required for all first-year graduate students, MD-PhD candidates, and Memorial Sloan Kettering, Weill Cornell Medicine, and HSS first-year postdoctoral researchers and fellows in clinical fellowship programs (at the discretion of their program director). It is also mandatory for individuals appointed to specific federally funded training programs or projects.

The intent is that this course be thought-provoking and useful, and that it provides participants with a foundation of information that will support their scientific journeys. The future of science depends on attracting the most talented, energetic, and morally strong people to research. It is incumbent on all of us in the research community to learn and work together to create a research environment dedicated to the highest ethical standards as we advance the cause of good science.

Course Goals and Objectives

  • Awareness: heighten awareness of participants to ethical considerations relevant to the conduct of research
  • Knowledge: inform participants of federal, state, and institutional policies, regulations, and procedures
  • Skills: provide participants with critical-analysis and problem-solving skills for ethical decision- making

Who MUST Participate

  • All 1st year Gerstner Sloan Kettering, The Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Graduate School, and Hospital for Special Surgery graduate students and MD-PhD candidates
  • All 1st year MSK, WCM, and HSS postdoctoral researchers (regardless of rank) and participants in clinical fellowship programs, at the discretion of the program director
  • Individuals appointed to NIH-funded National Research Service Award Institutional Training Programs (e.g., NRSA T32, T34, R25) and other Career Development awards (e.g., F, K). See NIH Guidelines for full list of applicable awards
  • Individuals appointed to NSF-funded projects under the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (August 2007)
  • Individuals funded by any other agency that requires RCR training
  • Anyone who was supposed to take the course in the previous year/semester and had to defer due to severe scheduling conflict
  • Anyone who took RCR training more than four years ago and must now take a refresher course. Individuals who take the refresher course can either repeat the course in its entirety (online modules plus 8 hours of in-person learning) or attend the Orientation and serve as a facilitator for the two small group sessions
  • An abbreviated summer RCR Course is offered to medical students and others studying at MSK through an R25 award or similar short-term program

Course Components & Criteria

The course will be offered in its entirety twice a year — in the fall from September to December and in the spring from January to May. Participants may register for one or the other, but it must be completed within a single semester. Those who start and don’t finish successfully will be required to repeat the course in its entirety the following semester.

Participants are required to complete the online curriculum and attend all four live sessions: an orientation plus two face-to-face topic sessions, and a Rigor & Transparency Workshop for a total of eight (8) hours of classroom instruction within the three-month period.

Topics Include:

Conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial – and conflict of commitment, in allocating time, effort, or other research resources

  • Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  • Safe research environments (e.g., those that promote inclusion and are free of sexual, racial, ethnic, disability and other forms of discriminatory harassment)
  • Collaborative research, including collaborations with industry and investigators and institutions in other countries
  • Peer review, including the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security in peer review
  • Data acquisition and analysis; laboratory tools (e.g., tools for analyzing data and creating or working with digital images); recordkeeping practices, including methods such as electronic laboratory notebooks
  • Secure and ethical data use; data confidentiality, management, sharing, and ownership
  • Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  • Responsible authorship and publication
  • The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

2023 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Course Spring Semester Registration

Enrollment for the Spring 2023 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course is currently underway. Click here to REGISTER. REGISTRATION ENDS Wednesday January 26, 2023. Please note, no matter your institution (e.g., HSS, MSK, RU, WCM), you are not considered enrolled unless you register using the above link.

If you are interested in taking the RCR course, but not on the “required” list, please contact the RCR Course Coordinator, Tunisia Greene, MS at [email protected] for more information.

The Spring 2023 RCR will be conducted in a hybrid format, with mandatory in-person sessions and virtual make-up sessions. Participants must complete eight (8) hours of face-to-face instruction which includes the REQUIRED Workshop: “Reproducibility, Replication, Rigor, and Transparency in the Scientific Enterprise” (R&T). Participants must also complete online learning modules.

  • Orientation: Wednesday, February 1, 2023, from 10 AM-12 p.m. (Virtual)
  • Small Group Case Study Discussion Session #1: Monday, February 13, 2023, from 4-6 p.m. (In- person)
  • R&T Workshop: Tuesday, February 28, 2023, from 9-11 a.m. (In-person)
  • Small Group Case Study Discussion Session #2: Tuesday, March 14, 2023, from 4-6 p.m. (In- person)

Questions on course content, your obligation to participate, or waivers can be addressed to the RCR Course Coordinator, Tunisia Greene, MS at [email protected]