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Program Snapshot

The NIH Common Fund’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program aims to enhance and maintain cultures of inclusive excellence in the biomedical research community. “Inclusive excellence” refers to cultures that establish and sustain scientific environments that cultivate and benefit from a full range of talent. NIH aims to facilitate institutions in their building a self-reinforcing community of scientists, through recruitment of a critical mass of early-career faculty who have a demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence. The program also seeks to have a positive impact on faculty development, retention, progression, and eventual promotion, as well as develop inclusive environments that are sustainable.

The NIH recognizes that setting high institutional standards for research environments is not only essential for biomedical science, but it is also good stewardship of federal funds. Fostering inclusive environments in the biomedical research workforce ensures that the most creative minds have the opportunity to contribute to realizing our national research and health goals. The nation’s population continues to become increasingly diverse, and there is an urgent need to ensure that the scientific talent which is key to our nation’s success is nurtured, recognized, and supported across all groups. The NIH expects its efforts to lead to the recruitment of talented researchers from all groups, to improve the quality of the training environment, to balance and broaden the perspective in setting research priorities, and to positively impact scientific discovery.

The FIRST program is funded by the NIH Common Fund, whose programs are meant to dramatically affect biomedical research by achieving a set of high-impact goals within a defined time frame, limited to typically ten years maximum. The Common Fund also sponsors novel approaches testing new ways of supporting the entire biomedical research workforce. By focusing on both recruitment and institutional support for faculty, the goal is for the FIRST program to provide evidence-backed strategies that significantly impact inclusive excellence within research environments and ultimately diversify the biomedical research workforce.  


First Website

The FIRST website now contains information about grantee institutions, program goals, resources, news, and events. Visit the site at, and be sure to check back often as new content is added! 

NIH Leadership

The FIRST program is funded through the NIH Common Fund and managed in collaboration by the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; the Scientific Workforce Diversity office; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Early Program Development

See Dr. Valantine's presentation and background materials from the Concept Clearance Discussion at the January 2020 Council of Councils Meeting.

Also, see summary of external feedback from the biomedical community that informed the program development. Click here.

This page last reviewed on April 12, 2024