Coordination of NIH FIRST Program

The following message from Nick Novak, assistant vice chancellor for research services in the OVCRGE, was recently shared with chairs, directors and administrators in biological and social sciences departments; associate deans for research; and college/school research administrators:

NIH has recently published a notice of intent to publish a funding opportunity for the NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program: FIRST Cohort (NIH Notice NOT-RM-20-023).  The funding announcement is expected to be published around September 9th with an expected application date in November 2020.

UW-Madison will be submitting a single proposal.   We are asking that any groups that are interested in this funding opportunity to please contact Cynthia Czajkowski, Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Research – Biological Sciences ( by September 25th.   Interested groups will work with the UW Institute of Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) on submission of the proposal.  Due to the short time-line, an internal competition will not be held.

The Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program will provide funds to develop and implement faculty cohort models for the simultaneous hiring of a diverse group of research faculty.  The program will support activities for faculty to receive multilevel mentoring, sponsorship, professional and research development embedded within institutions that are actively implementing integrated, systems-level approaches for sustainable culture change.

FIRST applicant institutions are encouraged to enhance the diversity of the FIRST faculty cohort by including candidates from groups identified as underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences, some of which are described in NOT-OD-20-031, such as racial and ethnic minorities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, and women at the faculty level. Institutional cohorts may be comprised of small clusters of scientists within several scientific areas, such as neuroscience, cardiovascular disease, cancer, minority health and health disparities, behavioral, social, or other research areas within the NIH mission.

Amount per award:  $300,000 total costs for planning year, $5,158,000 per year for FY 22-24 (years 2-4 of award), $1,100,000 per year for FY25-26 (years 5 and 6 of award)
Duration of award: 6 Years
Number of awards: 4 awards per round, anticipate 3 rounds, 12 awards total.

Thank you,


Nick Novak
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research Services
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education
University of Wisconsin-Madison
317 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI  53706