medical scientist training program

Responsible Conduct of Research Training 2015-2016

RCR Workshop Schedule

At a time when ethical issues are gaining more and more attention in academia and in society at large, it is vital that PhD students are formally exposed to information about accepted practices, and invited to participate in on-going debate.  Training in research bioethics is a requirement of the MD/PhD program, the School of Medicine, graduate groups and NIH.

The training program in Ethical Conduct of Biomedical Research has three major educational components: web-based training in bioethics, the program literature, and small group discussion workshops.  Participation in all phases of the training program is mandatory for all graduate and combined degree students and for all postdoctoral and research fellows.

The requirement for MD/PhD students is as follows:


First year students must complete their training by completing the on-line training which can be accessed here:

You will need to log on with your Pennkey and password. Click on Catalog under Training on the left side of the page. In the Search For field, then type “bioethics”, and the course will pop up. Click to enroll. You must go through and read all of the slides as well as complete the quiz at the end with at least an 80% to successfully complete the training. (FYI - There is an assumed 5 seconds reading time for each slide; you cannot advance to the next slide until then.) You must complete your training requirement by May 30.


Participation in the second year curriculum of medical school fulfills your ethics training requirement.  


Students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th year are required to attend a small group workshop to discuss relevant case studies.  You will be contacted directly with workshop schedule information. It is expected that most of the 2015-16 workshops will be scheduled for May and June. 

In addition to the workshops, there is an on-line component through the CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) which is accessible through knowledge link. Please complete the training prior to attending your scheduled workshop.


Students beyond the fifth year who are not graduating, must participate in a yearly training session of their choice.  The Student Choice RCR requirement for these students can be met by participation in various University sanctioned bioethics courses and symposia. To learn about events, you can visit the Center for Bioethics' home page at (You can also surf other Penn sites and are not restricted to only the events listed on the Center of Bioethics homepage. EG, the Center for Neuroscience & Society sometimes has relevant events After attending a University sponsored event of your choice, you must register your participation with the BGS office.  To do so, please contact Colleen Dunn at ( and let her know what you did to satisfy the requirement.  Another option for upper level students is serving as an assistant facilitator in a workshop for more junior students.  Students interested should contact Colleen Dunn at BGS (  The deadline for completion is May 30.


In parallel with the required RCR training plan described above, BGS Faculty must dedicate at least two lab meetings (1-2 hr each) per year to RCR training. To this end, Faculty have access to the aforementioned case studies to use as discussion pieces, in addition to their own resources or examples from their own experience. The expectation is for these events to be interactive discussions that ideally include all laboratory personnel, but minimally explicitly include all graduate students who work in that lab. After each such event, the Faculty member is expected to send an email to BGS (Colleen Dunn indicating (a) who participated in the event and (b) what aspects of RCR were discussed, including which case studies or other published material were used as the basis for the discussions.


All MD/PhD students must complete the one week Medical Bioethics Course required of graduating students.


The training sequence for a typical 8-year MD-PhD curriculum is as follows:

  • Year 1:  Online training
  • Year 2: MD curriculum
  • Year 3-5: Bioethics Workshops and Online training
  • Year 6-7:  Student Choice
  • Year 8: Medical Bioethics Course