University of Pennsylvania

Biomedical Graduate Studies
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and Scientific Rigor and Reproducibility (SRR)

Faculty Requirements – Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and Scientific Rigor and Reproducibility (SRR)

All BGS faculty are required as a condition of their graduate group appointment to participate in an RCR training program at least once during each three-year term. This requirement may be met by serving as a facilitator of a BGS RCR workshop, serving as a leader for an RCR-based lab meeting (see below), or participating in any other relevant BGS approved activity, such as bioethics courses or symposia. Workshops are scheduled in the spring semester. Faculty who wish to serve as workshop facilitators should contact Colleen Dunn at dunncoll@upenn.edu no later than February 1st. 

All faculty who train BGS students in the laboratory, through rotation and/or thesis work, are required to lead one lab meeting focused on RCR and one lab meeting focused on SRR per year. Each meeting should be 1.5 hrs in length.

  • The intent of an RCR-based lab meeting is to have a discussion among lab members of one or a few RCR topics both in general terms and from the perspective of the work and concerns of the laboratory. Topics should be rotated each meeting. Resources in the form of case-study modules are provided for the following topics: acquisition and management of data, collaborative science, conflicts of interest and time, mentoring, peer review, research misconduct, responsible authorship and publication, scientists as responsible members of society, use of animals in research, and use of humans in research.

  •  The intent of an SRR-based lab meeting is to similarly have a discussion among lab members, but now about experimental design and transparency as they relate to reproducibility. Topics include scientific premise, rigorous experimental design (incl. statistics), consideration of sex and other variables, authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources, and presentation/publication practices. A case-study module covering these topics is provided.

  • The PI is encouraged to tailor presentations according to the needs of his or her laboratory and the stages of development of the students, inclusive of any student performing a rotation project.
  • Participation as a facilitator of a BGS RCR workshop is recorded by BGS without further action by virtue of assignments. RCR- and SRR-based lab meetings must be reported by the principal investigator at the following site:
    • https://www.med.upenn.edu/apps/bgs-forms
    • Click on the RCR/SRR link and select a form to submit. Once the form is complete, it will auto-generate an email containing a copy of the submission; the form will also be saved under the tab called My Forms within BGS Forms.

Compliance with the above requirements is essential in securing and maintaining funds for training and consequently has a major impact on funds used for research in general. For this reason, and for reason of the value of information afforded students in training, BGS requires and actively monitors compliance.