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Responsible Conduct of Research Committee By Laws

Updated April 2016

Article I. Mission Statement

The mission of the USI Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Committee is to promote quality research at USI through training and education.

While responsible and ethical research behavior is generally self-regulated based on shared ethical principles and generally accepted practices, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires that "each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project." “NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.”

The RCR Committee is committed to providing resources and training to ensure NSF and NIH standards are met. In addition to online resources, the Committee offers monthly training throughout the academic year ensuring compliance. This is in compliance with Section 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act.

Article II. Authority

The Office of Sponsored Projects and Research at USI delegated authority to the

RCR Committee which will be empowered to:

1. Develop and present training sessions providing the necessary face to face training as required by NIH, NSF, and other granting agencies.

2. Make online RCR training available to the USI community.

3. Consult in any cases at the university that involve RCR violations.

Article III. The Committee

The RCR Committee is considered a standing committee of USI. This committee will be comprised of no fewer than nine (9) members who are committed to serving three year renewable terms (three open positions each year). A member may run for re-election an unlimited number of times. The Chair has the authority to remove members from the committee for stated cause, non-participation and/or non-attendance.

1. Composition

The composition of the membership of the RCR Committee will be one representative from the College of Business and two representatives from each of the following: Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education; College of Liberal Arts; and the College of Nursing and Health Professions. In addition to the specific college representation there will also be two at large members. Individuals are elected to serve as members of the committee.

Elections will be held in the spring semester with each college electing their representative. In cases where there are not enough candidates to fill all open positions, then positions will be filled by appointment. Appointments will be made by a college dean or unit director.

The Executive Director of Sponsored Projects and Research is the designated Institutional Official in regards to all matters relating to RCR. The Office of Sponsored Projects and Research Grant Administrators are non-voting ex-officio members of the committee.

The RCR Committee may, in its discretion, invite individuals with competence in special areas to assist in offering presentations or in the review of issues which require expertise beyond or in addition to that available on the RCR. Special consultants provide expertise and may not vote with the RCR.

2. Membership The RCR Committee will be composed of members who are:

  • Tenured or tenure-track faculty or instructors on continuing appointment (only required for college representation). All full time faculty and administrative staff are eligible for at large positions.
  • Certified in the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training module that specifically relates to the college or unit they represent (RCR for Social and Behavioral, RCR for Humanities, RCR for Physical Sciences, RCR for Administrators, or RCR for Engineers).

Duties of Members include:

  • Attend committee meetings (with prior approval from the Chair or OSPR administrative representative, members may attend meetings virtually)
  • Complete and maintain current RCR or other approved training for responsible research practices
  • Become familiar with federal and state regulations, USI policies, and RCR guidelines and procedures
  • Serve on ad hoc subcommittees of the committee

Failure to attend three (3) consecutive meetings or failure to complete training or an assigned workshop will constitute cause for removal if no valid excuse is provided. Replacement by another individual will be designated by the committee.

3. The Chair

The Chair will:

  • Be elected from the committee members to hold a one year term (may be re-elected)
  • Have at least one year’s experience as an RCR committee member when elected to serve
  • Preside at all regular and special sessions of the committee
  • Represent the committee in dealings with the University and the public
  • May designate an Associate Chair to act in his or her absence
  • Have the authority to appoint an ad hoc committee
  • Contact faculty and administrative groups regarding face to face training

4. The Office of Sponsored Projects and Research 

The Office of Sponsored Projects and Research supports the goals of the RCR committee in the following ways:

  • Keep current on federal and state guidelines for responsible conduct of research and communicate that information to the Chair, the committee, and to faculty, staff, and students
  • Organize and participate in educational activities related to RCR policies and procedures
  • Post RCR guidelines, forms, minutes, logs, and related materials electronically
  • Maintain records for RCR training compliance
  • Post meeting notices on the Office of Sponsored Projects and Research website,
  • and via faculty email
  • Keep on file RCR correspondence, guidelines, forms, minutes, logs, RCR training, attendance at face to face meetings, and all other relevant information
  • Provide assurances to federal agencies of training compliance
  • Act as liaison between federal agencies and investigators regarding responsible conduct of research matters.

5. Meetings

To establish a quorum, at least half plus one of the voting members must be present. (with prior approval from the Chair or OSPR administrative representative, members may attend meetings virtually and will be counted toward a quorum)

Voting can occur on items when a quorum is present at a meeting, or via e-mail when each member receives the information via e-mail and responds with their vote on the item.

The RCR committee will meet monthly during the academic year. RCR workshops will be offered monthly during the academic year. Members are encouraged to attend.

The dates of the RCR meetings and workshops will be posted on the USI Office of Sponsored Projects and Research website.

Article IV. Procedures for RCR Face to Face Presentations

Each regular committee member will prepare/update and present one of the nine areas suggested by NIH for inclusion in training:

  • conflict of interest – personal professional, and financial
  • policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  • collaborative research including collaborations with industry
  • peer review
  • data acquisition and laboratory tools; 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

Article V. Conflicts of Interest

No member of this committee may take part in a consultation regarding RCR violations for which they may play a role.

Article VI. Amendment

Amendments to these Bylaws may be proposed by a member of the committee. The amendment may be adopted by majority vote. Any amendments that are mandated by the federal government will be made immediately.