Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST)

The FIRST program is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund initiative to create cultures of inclusive excellence at NIH-funded institutions by:

  • Implementing a set of well-integrated, evidence-based strategies.
  • Evaluating their impact on prespecified metrics of institutional culture, inclusion, and diversity.
background image

FIRST Program Components

Applications due March 1, 2021

  1. FIRST Cohort (RFA-RM-20-022) - funding administered by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  2. FIRST Coordination and Evaluation Center (CEC) (RFA-RM-20-023) - funding administered by NIMHD

FIRST Technical Assistance Webinar

Inclusive excellence is a philosophical approach to higher education administration and processes. It attends to both the demographic diversity of faculty/students and the development of institutional climates and cultures that encourage success for all in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine, or STEMM (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019, The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM).

“This program, if successful, will help foster research environments attractive to underrepresented scientists, who can leverage their diverse perspectives and create relevant research to advance knowledge and discovery in their fields and reduce health disparities. Diversity in the biomedical research workforce promotes innovation, leads to better science, and creates opportunities to make significant progress toward health equity.”
NIMHD Director, Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable, M.D.

FIRST Program Goals

  • Foster sustainable institutional culture change
  • Promote institutional inclusive excellence by hiring a diverse cohort of new faculty
  • Support faculty development, mentoring, sponsorship and promotion


The FIRST program is funded through the NIH Common Fund and managed collaboratively by:

  • NCI
  • Scientific Workforce Diversity Office
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • Office of Extramural Research

Page updated February 8, 2021