The NIH Common Fund FIRST program announced its third round of awards to enhance diversity and inclusion among biomedical faculty. These awards provide funds to recruit diverse cohorts of early-stage research faculty and establish inclusive environments to help those faculty succeed. The new set of four awards totals more than $64 million over five years, pending availability of funds.
Through the FIRST program, awardee institutions will build self-reinforcing communities of scientists committed to diversity and inclusive excellence. Inclusive excellence refers to cultures that establish and sustain scientific environments that cultivate and benefit from a full range of talent. The institutions aim to foster sustainable institutional culture change and positively impact faculty development, retention, progression, and eventual promotion.
The new NIH FIRST Cohort awardee institutions are:
- The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, which will increase the sustainability of their existing diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities and hire faculty in 11 biomedical, clinical and translation, and social and behavioral research units across campus.
- The University of Texas El Paso program, which seeks to hire a diverse cohort of new faculty with research interests focused on Hispanic health disparities in areas such as cancer, diabetes, substance use, and mental health.
- The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas, which seeks to increase tenure track faculty from underrepresented groups at both institutions. They will recruit faculty in the fields of biomedical engineering, brain science, and cancer at each institution.
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which seeks to improve diversity among its scientific research faculty by hiring early-career scientists across clusters including research in immunology and infection, structural biology and imaging, genomics and health disparities, and neuroscience.
The FIRST Cohort awardees will work with the FIRST Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) at Morehouse School of Medicine to evaluate how their approaches accelerate inclusive excellence, as measured by clearly defined metrics of institutional culture change, diversity, and inclusion. 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.
More information about each award is available on the FIRST Funded Research Page
NIH FIRST funding comes from the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs expected to have exceptionally high impact. This is the third and final round of FIRST Cohort funding issued by NIH. For more information about Common Fund opportunities, join the Common Fund Listserv or subscribe to the Weekly E-Mail with New NIH Guide Postings.