• Internal: 11/01/2019


  • Amount: Up to $1M
  • Duration: 3 years


The Keck Foundation supports pioneering discoveries through its Science and Engineering Research and Medical Research programs. By funding the high-risk/high-impact work of leading researchers, the foundation seeks to lay the groundwork for new paradigms, technologies and discoveries that will save lives, provide innovative solutions, and add to our understanding of the world. Both senior and early career investigators are eligible to apply.

Funding is awarded to universities and institutions nationwide for projects in research that:

  • Focus on important and emerging areas of research
  • Have the potential to develop breakthrough technologies, instrumentation or methodologies
  • Are innovative, distinctive and interdisciplinary
  • Demonstrate a high level of risk due to unconventional approaches, or by challenging the prevailing paradigm
  • Have the potential for transformative impact, such as the founding of a new field of research, the enabling of observations not previously possible, or the altered perception of a previously intractable problem
  • Does not focus on clinical or translational research, treatment trials or research for the sole purpose of drug development
  • Fall outside the mission of public funding agencies
  • Demonstrate that private philanthropy generally, and the W. M. Keck Foundation in particular, is essential to the project’s success.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

Approaches to the W.M. Keck Foundation must be made through a single institutional contact. Investigators who are interested in exploring this limited submission opportunity should contact Karen Drew (-4824) as soon as possible, and by November 1, 2019.

Applicant institutions may submit one application per grant cycle to each of the following areas:
1. Medical Research
2. Science and Engineering Research

Please note this opportunity has exceptions to the Limited Submission pre-proposal format. Any interested parties should be prepared to submit the following information in a single page concept paper (12 pt font and 1 inch margins):

  • What is it/Project overview
  • Why is it important
  • What are the significant preliminary results
  • How will you do it- approach and methods
  • What is the breakthrough
  • What is the team and why is it well positioned for this challenge
  • Why isn’t conventional funding a possibility (attach documentation, including comments from reviewers or Program Officer)
  • 1-line estimated budget broken down, if possible, by major areas, e.g., personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc

It is important to demonstrate that in addition to being fantastic science, your research is highly unlikely to be funded by federal or corporate sources. Program officer emails or review comments that indicate a project is too high risk/preliminary is an advantage in this competition, and these emails and/or comments may be appended to the 1-page pre-proposal.