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Office of Research & Sponsored Programs

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Interim Responsible Conduct of Research Plan for subject USDA-NIFA awards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requires training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) for all personnel supported on NIFA awards which are subject to NIFA Research Terms and Conditions dated February 2013 and after. Full text of the requirement can be found in NIFA’s April 2013 Agency-Specific Terms & Conditions (PDF).

While the University’s Responsible & Ethical Conduct of Research plan (PDF) is being revised to reflect the NIFA RCR training requirement, subject personnel are directed to take the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative’s ‘General RCR Course’ and to submit a copy of their certificate of completion to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) at: (Instructions for establishing a CITI user account and completing RCR training). No project funds will be released until ORSP has received this confirmation for all subject personnel!

If you have questions regarding this training requirement please contact Wendy Eckert. For questions related to CITI training instructions, please contact Amanda Ashe.

Important Information re: Financial Conflict of Interest Training and PARS Access

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service (PHS) regulations and University of Maine policy now require investigators wanting to submit proposals for extramural funding to first successfully complete conflict of interest training.  Information regarding the PHS mandate and University policy can be found at:

To ensure 100% compliance, effective November 1, 2013, Proposal Automated Routing System (PARS) privileges will be suspended or denied, respectively, to any current or new Investigator or Approver who has not submitted to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) a certificate showing satisfactory completion of the UMS Financial Conflict of Interest (FCOI) training.

FCOI training is offered online through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program. It typically takes 20-30 minutes to complete and certification is valid for four years. Instructions for accessing CITI and completing the training can be found at:  Certifications should be emailed to  Investigators who are unsure as to whether they have completed FCOI training can confirm their status by logging into their CITI accounts and in the Main Menu looking under ‘Completion Report’.  Reports are available for printing when a course has been completed successfully.

Please direct questions pertaining to accessing and using CITI to Amanda Ashe at: and questions relating to compliance to Wendy Eckert at:

Operations during Federal Government Shutdown

Due to the lapse in federal funding, Federal Agencies have implemented contingency plans which are available on the Office of Management & Budget website at:

In most circumstances, work funded under a grant or cooperative agreement may continue during the shutdown, to the extent that funding is available, the term has not expired, and access to federal staff and facilities are not required. Researchers should consult the appropriate sponsor’s contingency plan prior to incurring any expenses.

Grant Writing Workshop

The UMaine Hutchinson Center is hosting a two-day grant writing workshop, “Writing Winning Grant Proposals: Nuts, Bolts and Assembly” (PDF) in Belfast August 12th and 13th.  The workshop runs from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm both days. The $255.00 fee for attendance  includes breakfast, lunch and workshop materials. To register contact Nancy Boyinton.

New NIFA RCR Training Requirement

For awards subject to the February 2013 and subsequent Research Terms & Conditions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has issued the following:

“By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training is subject to NIFA review upon request.”  Full text can be found in NIFA’s April 2013  Agency-Specific Terms & Conditions (PDF).

UMaine’s current Responsible & Ethical Conduct of Research plan (PDF) is being revised to reflect the NIFA requirement. In the interim, if you receive a NIFA award please contact our office, prior to expenditure of funds, to determine an appropriate training plan for your research team.


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Contact Information

Office of Research & Sponsored Programs
5717 Corbett Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5717
Phone: 207-581-1484 | Fax: 207-581-1446
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System