The National Institutes of Health on Tuesday announced that they will offer new support to institutions to recruit diverse cohorts of junior research faculty members and to prepare these cohorts for future success as NIH-funded researchers. The initiative will target scientists from underrepresented racial groups, those with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and women.
“There is an urgent need for culture change that creates a more inclusive environment in the biomedical research workforce,” Francis S. Collins, NIH director, said in a statement. “The future of our enterprise rests on engaging highly talented researchers from all groups and preparing them to be successful. Diversity is the foundation that fuels creativity and innovation.” The NIH’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program will provide cohort mentoring, sponsorship and networking opportunities. Institutions may receive training for current faculty members in approaches known to foster inclusive excellence and changing the rubric for interviewing processes, according to the NIH. FIRST will fund 12 awards over the next three years, dependent on funding.