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National Science Foundation Research Security Training Modules

Sent: February 6, 2024 2:03 pm


February 5, 2024


To:  Research Deans, OVCR Center and Institute Directors


From:  Brian Collier, Director of Research Science and Security


Re:  National Science Foundation Research Security Training Modules


You may have heard that the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released four Research Security training modules ( and are encouraging all those involved in research to take them.


I’m writing today to ask that you and your staff NOT do so in the immediate future.  The University and OVCR fully support the need to better secure our research enterprise and we recognize that training is one key component of that.   However, at this time, we are asking that you and your staff refrain from taking the NSF training for the following reasons:


  • The training modules are currently being evaluated by key UNC staff to see how useful they are from an educational standpoint and how reasonable they are for faculty to take timewise.  Early feedback is that, while they contain very useful information, they are also quite lengthy and time-consuming.  In addition, they are looking at research security from a general perspective as opposed to a specific institutional perspective.


  • The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has indicated that research institutions will need to launch a formal Research Security Training Program, covering as many as thirteen (13) topics and that this training will most likely be mandatory with required tracking.  According to NSF representatives we’ve spoken with, the NSF training modules may meet some of the OSTP topic areas but not all of them.  In addition, the NSF training modules only issue a certificate of completion and do not retain any information regarding who took training and when they took them, which we expect to be a critical element of the OSTP requirements.


  • It is unclear if this training will overlap with current RCR training in any way or if we’ll be required to make it part of RCR training.

Once we receive final guidance from OSTP regarding the Research Security Training Program, which we believe will come in the spring, we’ll have twelve (12) months to launch our program.  That will give us time to see how the NSF training modules can be used best.  We anticipate that we’ll need to download the training into our local LMS training system, add additional custom content, and create system enhancements that will track the training and link it to RAMSeS should that be needed, all of which will take time.  We would prefer to not increase the administrative burden for faculty in the short term, especially if they will be impacted long term by the larger OSTP requirements.


I appreciate your partnership and collaboration in this endeavor.  If you or your staff have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at  Thank you.

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