RCRS Program Overview and Description



As the scope and range of research and scholarship grow, increasingly complex collaborations funded by a variety of sponsors present us with challenging situations. 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 classroom, professional and research settings.

RCRS training is required for all:
  • PhD students (Rackham Graduate School requires that all PhD students complete the training to advance to candidacy – ideally in the first year of the graduate program.);
  • postdoctoral research fellows; and,
  • CoE students (undergraduate, masters, PhD) with NSF/NIH grant or fellowship funding.
  • Undergraduates who participate in a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program may fulfill the RCRS requirement by taking any one of the four workshops.

Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage (e.g., PhD and postdoctoral research fellow), and at a frequency of no less than once every four years.
Failure to comply with RCRS training may result in a loss of funding or sanctions for U-M.
There are other courses in the college and in other university units which you can complete to meet the RCRS training requirements. These include BME 550/BMEDE 550, CEE 880/881, PIBS 503, KINESLGY 616, and STATS 810.

Special training for summer research undergraduates may be arranged upon request.

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.