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The FIRST program is supporting the hiring of 10 early-stage tenure-track faculty. Join our new NIH Medical District UTSW-UTD FIRST research program to begin your journey as an early career biomedical faculty.

What is FIRST?

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The NIH Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) program aims to:

  • Enhance and maintain cultures of inclusive excellence in the biomedical research community to ensure that the most creative minds have the opportunity to contribute to realizing the national research and health goals.
  • Have a positive impact on faculty development, retention, progression, and eventual promotion, as well as develop inclusive environments that are sustainable. It will use a cohort-hiring model to maximize collaborations between the FIRST faculty hires.
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NIH FIRST Institutions

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5 Year


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Our Partner

University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)

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Why a joint UTSW and UTD FIRST program?

Our FIRST joint program is a unique collaboration to identify best practices for faculty development and promoting institutional excellence. Our institutions have complementary scientific strengths and a track record of productive collaborations. Our integrated joint FIRST grant will offer the benefits of working at the UTSW, a large premier academic medicine powerhouse, together with UTD, a top public research university with science and engineering-intensive programs. We are in a unique position to leverage our extensive experience with this joint program. We will jointly recruit 10 early-stage tenure-track faculty.

UTSW and UTD FIRST appointed faculty will be centralized in the heart of Dallas’ Southwestern Medical District with access to world renowned Centers and facilities.

What are our FIRST’s biomedical disciplines?

Our FIRST program will focus on three broad cluster disciplines, which are areas of rapid growth and have high potential for our scholars to make interdisciplinary breakthroughs.

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Applicants for the UTSW-UTD FIRST program must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a terminal doctoral degree (Ph.D., M.D., M.D./Ph.D. or equivalent)
  • First time on the tenure-accruing track as an assistant professor investigator academic track
  • Committed to research in the broad areas of Brain Sciences, Cancer Biology, or Biomedical Engineering

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We are here to support you

The UTSW-UTD program will hire 10 early-stage tenure-track Assistant Professor investigators (5 at UT Southwestern and 5 at UT Dallas). The FIRST scholars will receive:

  • A lab centralized in the Southwestern Medical District
  • Customized mentorship and sponsorship
  • Training in research, education, and grantsmanship lab management
  • Competitive salary and substantial start-up support
  • Professional development and executive coaching


FIRST Cohort Leadership

Administrative Core:

Helen Yin, PhD (MPI)

Francesca Filbey, PhD (MPI)

Russell Debose-Boyd, PhD (Pipeline Development)


Faculty Development Core:

Jane Johnson, PhD (Faculty Development Co-Lead)

Theodore Price, PhD (Faculty Development Co-Lead)


Evaluation Core:

Carolyn Smith-Morris, PhD (Eval Core Co-Lead)

James Harrington, PhD, MPA (Eval Core Co-Lead)


Project Manager:

Traci Barros, MBA