(CLOSED) NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program: FIRST Cohort (U54 Clinical Trial Optional)

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

The purpose of the FIRST Cohort is to transform culture at NIH-funded extramural institutions by building a self-reinforcing community of scientists committed to diversity and inclusive excellence (defined below). Implementing and sustaining cultures of inclusive excellence within the program has the potential to be transformational for biomedical research at the awardee institutions and beyond. This community will be built through recruitment of a diverse group of early-career faculty who are competitive for an advertised research tenure-track or equivalent faculty position and who have demonstrated strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusive excellence.

The overall goals and specific measurable objectives that the program expects FIRST Cohort awardee institutions to accomplish are:

  • Goal 1: FIRST Cohort awardees must demonstrate institutional support and develop or modify a strategic plan with specific goals and strategies, interventions, and organizational policies that will be implemented to achieve significant systemic and sustainable institutional culture change over baseline toward inclusive excellence (at the faculty, department, and institution level). FIRST Cohort awardees are also expected to develop an evaluation plan to assess the impact on their institution of action taken toward FIRST program goals.
  • Goal 2: FIRST Cohort awardees must conduct recruitment activities for new faculty, outline institutional commitments, and develop recruitment committees based on past interests and commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. FIRST Cohort awardees are also expected to establish a retention plan to secure institutional commitment and supportive environment for new faculty hires.
  • Goal 3: FIRST Cohort awardees must develop strategies for the institution to establish individual research and career development plans and mentorship plans for all new faculty hired under this award. The applicants must describe how the program will reduce isolation, increase community building, and foster career development for the new faculty.

The NIH intends to commit up to a total of $70.5M to fund up to four awards in 2021. Application budgets are limited to $300,000 direct cost per award in year one; $3,275,000 direct cost per year per award in years 2-4; and $120,000 direct cost per award in year 5 and need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project.

Sponsor LOI Deadline: 
Feb 01, 2021
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Mar 01, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should upload the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NIH 20-022_2021 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

1. Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

2. Project Description (no more than two pages, pdf) identifying the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements of the sponsor's solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

3. 2-page CV's of Investigators

Formatting Guidelines:

Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)
Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Thursday, January 7, 2021 - 4:00pm
Craig Newschaffer (HHD)