RCRS Program Overview and Description



The College of Engineering (CoE) Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship program is designed to help you to recognize, address and resolve ethical issues as they arise in the classroom, professional and research settings.

As the scope and range of research and scholarship grow, and increasingly complex collaborations funded by a variety of sponsors can present us with a variety of challenging situations.  The College of Engineering (CoE) Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) program is designed to help you recognize, address and resolve those situations as they arise in the classroom, professional and research settings.

The CoE RCRS program is designed for all Ph.D. students, postdoctoral research fellows, and any Master’s or undergraduate students on NSF and/or NIH grants. It consists of 4 mandatory 2-hour workshops. These workshops were developed and are taught by College of Engineering faculty members. Each workshop is usually offered 10 times a year: four times both Fall and Winter terms, and two times in the Spring/Summer term. All incoming PhD students must complete this training to advance to candidacy.

In addition, faculty advisors and students are requested to discuss case studies that highlight challenging scenarios relevant to engineers. (Mentor-Student discussions). Special training for summer research undergraduate students is provided as well. There are other courses in the college and in other university units which you can complete to meet the College RCRS training requirements. These include BME 550/BME DE 550, CEE 880/881, PIBS 503, KINESLGY 616, and STATS 810.

RCRS Workshop A

  • Appropriate citation of sources and avoiding plagiarism
  • Authorship and publication practices and responsibilities

RCRS Workshop B

  • Acquisition, management, ownership and sharing of data
  • Avoiding research misconduct, including data fabrication and falsification

RCRS Workshop C

  • Personal, professional, and financial conflicts of interest
  • Supervisory and mentoring relationships and responsibilities
  • Responsibilities of collaborative research

RCRS Workshop D

  • Professional ethics, Engineers’ roles as responsible members of society
  • Contemporary ethical issues in engineering research, and the environmental and societal impacts of engineering

Training for researchers working with human or animal subjects:
If required, training on the protection of human beings and welfare of laboratory animals during research will be automatically assigned during IRB and IACUC protocols.

Mentor-Student discussions (2 hours), Optional
Faculty advisors and students discuss case studies and potential scenarios relevant to the engineer in academia, industry and society. A packet of case studies with questions and guidance on talking points related to the responsible conduct of research has been developed by CoE for faculty members to use in these discussions. Each department may determine the method of delivery; for example, 15-30 minute discussions during regular lab meetings, joint lab meetings, interactive department workshops, etc. This training is strongly encouraged but it is not required.