Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST+) Lives Here for Urban Health

University of Cincinnati

Project Overview

The University of Cincinnati’s Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and Office of Research committed $12 million to grow inclusive excellence by leveraging diverse perspectives to advance innovation, creativity, and complex problem-solving in biomedical research. The new program, Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST+) Lives Here for Urban Health, aligns with the National Institutes of Health’s FIRST Program and advances the University’s Next Lives Here strategic direction and seeks to hire a diverse group of faculty who will obtain federal funding that will be used to fuel research. The first cohort of hires will begin during the 2023 – 2024 academic year.


As part of its commitment to inclusive excellence and as a Research 1 institution, the University of Cincinnati sought to develop a program that would transform how the University recruited diverse groups of faculty to educate students, solve real-world problems, and empower faculty members to be successful researchers. This program will change how departments engage in the hiring process by requiring the use of best practices and by working to ensure departments adopt practices and procedures that support diverse contributions to science.


FIRST+ Lives Here for Urban Health has three primary goals, which are to:

· Expand leadership and faculty development initiatives to cultivate sustainable culture change that promotes inclusive excellence at UC.

· Recruit and invest in a diverse group of early-stage investigators and strengthen recruitment and retention strategies related to inclusive excellence.

· Advance career success and satisfaction of diverse faculty through professional development, mentorship, and community-building.

Through these strategic interventions, the leaders of FIRST+ hope the biomedical sciences can serve as a sustainable model for policies, practices, and people that bolster creativity, strengthen our ability to solve problems and maximize the University’s impact on the city, region, country, and beyond.


Hiring for the program began during the spring 2023 semester. The first cohort of hires is expected to begin in August 2023. The Faculty Development Core of FIRST+ Lives Here has created professional development opportunities and mentorship connections that will help the faculty acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be successful researchers who receive federal funding


The project began spring 2023 and is expected to last five years. If successful, efforts will be made to continue the program.


The University of Cincinnati committed $12M to cover the cost of faculty salaries and research start-up packages. In addition, a group of faculty and administrators, known as the multi-principal investigator team, applied for an additional $16M in funding from the National Institutes of Health to expand the program to hire more faculty.


The program will begin during the fall 2023 semester; therefore, outcomes are not available at the moment. However, departments hiring through the program have already started utilizing best practices in hiring, generated diverse pools of applicants, and hired talented faculty with a wealth of skillsets.

Lessons Learned

A project like FIRST+ Lives Here requires a vision, support for that vision, and a commitment from a multitude of people who are interested in leading systemic, sustainable change. FIRST+ is the product of many people from varying disciplines (e.g., psychology, internal medicine, chemistry, neurology, biology, and more) who collaborated to build this project. The diversity of our fields and areas of expertise is the strength of this project. By having such diverse perspectives and ideas, we were able to design a transformative program.


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