UCSD Awarded $16M to Recruit Diverse Biomedical Science Faculty


UC San Diego has received a five-year, $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to recruit 12 different junior research faculties in the biomedical sciences, it was announced Tuesday.

The NIH Institutional Faculty Recruitment Program for Sustainable Transformation grant is the largest UCSD has ever received to improve faculty diversity. UCSD is the only UC institution to receive funding from the FIRST cohort.

The NIH identified the lack of “mentoring, career development advice, access to professional networks, and integration into the fabric of the institution” as contributing to the disproportionate number of underrepresented faculty and women in the biomedical workforce.

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Led by UCSD Professor of Pharmacology JoAnn Trejo and Professor of Public Health Maraa Elena Martinez, the program aims to “transform institutional culture into inclusive excellence by hiring a diverse cohort of biomedical scientists in four research disciplines – cancer, heart -Circulatory diseases, infectious diseases/immunology and neuroscience,” the university said in a statement.

“UC San Diego is among the most enriched biomedical research environments in the world, but lacks faculty diversity and effective programming to enhance integrative excellence, similar to other research-intensive institutions,” said Trejo. “The interdisciplinary nature of our four selected research clusters and the strength of existing cross-faculty collaborations between health sciences, life sciences, engineering, natural sciences and social sciences will ensure that the FIRST program has an impact on the entire biomedical research enterprise at the university.”

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Funding will also begin – and strengthen existing – programs developed by UCSD’s Office of Faculty Affairs to improve faculty recruitment, retention, success and inclusion.

“The FIRST program is an extension of a pilot initiative to recruit and hire a cluster of underrepresented faculty in the health sciences,” said Martinez. “Introducing the cohort model into our hiring and onboarding efforts allows us to foster a supportive community for instructors hiring through the FIRST program. Our goal is to improve the career development of faculty members, which will be key to their long-term success at UC San Diego.”

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Funding for the FIRST program follows two other university-wide initiatives focused on improving faculty diversity. UC San Diego recently received $1 million in grants through the University of California’s Advancing Faculty Diversity Program with the intent to increase faculty diversity, drive innovative research, and infuse culture into the curriculum.

-City News Service



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