NSF & USDA-NIFA Training

Required training must be completed by those working on projects supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US Department of Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Failure to complete this training will jeopardize your ability to work on any research project supported by NSF or USDA-NIFA funding. The required and recommended training depends on your role: 

  • PIs, co-PIs, and others in upper management positions (on USDA-NIFA projects only) must complete the “RCR Core Basic Course”  online through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI).
  • Non-PI postdoctoral fellows and graduate and undergraduate students must complete either the RCR Agency Specific (bundled course) through CITI (on NSF, NIH or USDA-NIFA projects), or one of the courses, seminars or activities from the approved courses list below.
  • Research staff (on USDA-NIFA projects only) must complete the RCR Agency Specific RCR Training (bundled course) through CITI.

Launch CITI RCR Training

Approved Courses, Seminars and Activities

Many University of Minnesota courses and seminars meet the research ethics training requirement for NSF or USDA-NIFA. Some are for-credit offerings and enrollment may be limited to students accepted into a specific degree program. All courses, seminars or other activities must include core topics related to authorship and plagiarism, data/research integrity and reporting misconduct.

View a list of approved courses. To request a course or seminar be added to the list, contact ric@umn.edu.

Report Approved Training

If your program does not report completed courses and activities directly to the Research Compliance Office, students can submit a completion form. Completion of the RCR core training or the CITI research ethics workshop will be automatically recorded.


Training requirements must be completed within the first 30 days the student, postdoctoral fellow, or research staff receive funding to conduct research on an NSF- or USDA-NIFA-funded project. If a student is enrolled in a semester-long course that extends beyond the 30-day deadline, the student must provide proof of completion of the course.