Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program Highlights

NIH FIRST Awardees Announced

The NIH Common Fund FIRST program aims to develop cultures of inclusive excellence—establishing and maintaining scientific environments that can cultivate and benefit from a full range of talent at NIH-funded institutions. The NIH took a major step toward enhancing diversity and inclusion among biomedical faculty by funding its inaugural set of FIRST cohort awardees and a coordination and evaluation center.

These NIH FIRST cohort awardee institutions are: 

  • Cornell University 
  • Drexel University 
  • Florida State University 
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 
  • San Diego State University 
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham/ Tuskegee University (award is a partnership between the institutions)

The newly awarded FIRST CEC (Coordination and Evaluation Center) awardee institution is:

  • Morehouse School of Medicine 

These awardee institutions will build self-reinforcing communities of scientists, through recruitment of cohorts of early-career faculty who are competitive for assistant professor positions and have a demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence. The institutions are also building efforts to positively impact faculty development, retention, progression, and eventual promotion, as well as develop inclusive environments that are sustainable. Overall, the FIRST cohort awardees, together with the CEC  will work to determine if a systematic approach that integrates multiple evidence-based strategies including the hiring of faculty cohorts with demonstrated commitments to inclusion and diversity will accelerate inclusive excellence, as measured by clearly defined metrics of institutional culture change, diversity, and inclusion. Read more about each awardee here.

NIH FIRST funding comes from the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting programs expected to have exceptionally high impact. However, with a strong level of enthusiasm generated within NIH, additional funding was made available through several institutes and offices to bring the total cohort awardees to six for FY21, from the originally planned four awardees.  These institutes and offices include:

NIH plans to announce a total three rounds of the FIRST Cohort funding opportunity. The first and second announcements are now closed. To stay tuned for the final funding announcement, join the Common Fund Listserv or subscribe to the Weekly E-Mail with New NIH Guide Postings.

This page last reviewed on October 21, 2021