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Research Program

Grants to USA Colleges, Universities and Research
Institutions for Medical Research, Engineering, and Science

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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W. M. Keck Foundation

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

08/15/18 4:30 PM PT


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Grants to USA medical colleges, research universities, and institutions for projects related to science and engineering, as well as research in the medical field. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Foundation during the pre-application counseling period.

The Research Program seeks to benefit humanity by supporting projects in two specific areas (1) medical research and (2) science and engineering, that are distinctive and novel in their approach, question the prevailing paradigm, or have the potential to break open new territory in their field. Past grants have been awarded to major universities, independent research institutions, and medical schools to support pioneering biological and physical science research and engineering, including the development of promising new technologies, instrumentation or methodologies.

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 a 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

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182877

Estimated Size of Grant:

Historically, grants range from $500,000 to $5 million and are typically $2 million or less.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Research universities, medical colleges and major private independent scientific and medical research institutes are eligible to apply to the Research Program.

Organizations must be exempt from federal taxation as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be designated as:
- A public charity (and not a private foundation) as defined by Section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) or 170(b)(1)(A)(I-VI) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- An exempt operating foundation as defined by Section 4940(d)(2);
- No grants will be made to private foundations (other than exempt operating foundations) or 509(a)(3) organizations.

If the institution is located in the State of California, the organization must also be exempt from California State Franchise or Income Tax under Section 23701(d) of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

Please refer to Eligibility and Priorities for more information on tax requirements. Please feel free to contact the Foundation in advance to check eligibility and tax requirements.

If an applicant is submitting a collaborative project, the lead institution must be identified and all members must meet the Foundation’s eligibility requirements. On a case by case basis, the Foundation may request that other members of the collaborative also submit additional documentation.

Not eligible for funding:
- Individuals
- General operating expenses, endowments or deficit reduction
- General and federated campaigns, including fundraising events, dinners or mass mailings
- Grants to individuals
- Conference or seminar sponsorship
- Book publication and film or theater productions
- Public policy research
- Institutions that are located outside the United States
- Institutions that do not have a tax-exempt ruling from the federal government and (if located in California) the State of California, or if a government unit, do not have a signed Declaration of Status
- Institutions that do not have at least three consecutive full, certified, audited financial statements
- “Conduit” organizations, unified funds or organizations that use grant funds from donors to support other organizations or individuals
- Institutions that are subsidiaries or affiliates of larger entities that do not have a separate board of directors and independent audited financial statements

Pre-proposal Conference:

For awards determined in December: Pre-application Counseling: January 1 - February 15.

Pre-Application Information:

The W. M. Keck Foundaiton employs a two-phase application process. Applicants must follow the process carefully to avoid disqualification. Grants are awarded twice annually, in June and December. Only applications that reflect institutional priorities as certified by the applicant's President or Chief Executive Officer will be considered.

Applicants are strongly urged to contact Foundation staff during the pre-application counseling period, which takes place between January 1 and February 15 leading up to a May 1 Phase I submission, or between July 1 and August 15 leading up to a November 1 Phase I submission.


For awards determined in December:
- Pre-application Counseling: January 1 - February 15
- Phase I Application Deadline: May 1
- Notification of Invitation to Submit Full Proposal: July 15
- Full Proposal Deadline: August 15

For awards determined in June:
- Pre-application Counseling: July 1- August 15
- Phase I Application Deadline: November 1
- Notification of Invitation to Submit Full Proposal: January 15
- Full Proposal Deadline: February 15

Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their ideas for grants early in the form of single-page concept papers to allow time to schedule a possible consultation. Consultations are scheduled on a first come, first served basis during the pre-application counseling period.

Initial contact from a multi-unit organization (such as a college, university or agency branch location) must be coordinated through the institution’s central development office via the designated institutional liaison. Most colleges and universities have designated an official liaison to the Foundation. Other personnel contacting the Foundation will be referred to the designated liaison.

For new institutions/applicants applying to the Foundation: please do so through the applicant's central development office via the designated institutional liaison and make sure to submit all the required tax and audit documentation listed on the Eligibilities and Priorities page along with the concepts the applicant wishes to discuss.

To schedule a conference call, please email the concept papers, project descriptions or project titles to the Foundation to help the Foundation determine the most appropriate staff for the call. If the applicant is not able to submit the concept papers at the time of the request, the applicant should do so at least three days before the call.

Applicants may submit one Phase I application per grant cycle. All applications must be submitted through the official liaison to the Foundation. Applications submitted through other personnel will not be accepted.

For the December grant cycle, Phase I applications must be submitted online no later than May 1, 4:30pm (PT). For the June grant cycle, the online submission deadline is no later than November 1, 4:30pm (PT). If a deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) on the following Monday. Applicants will not be able to submit Phase I applications after the deadline. The Foundation appreciates early submissions.

Submission of Phase II proposals is by invitation only. If a full proposal is invited, site visits or conference calls are conducted at the discretion of the Foundation and are generally scheduled in September and October for the December cycle and March and April for the June cycle.

Phase II is by invitation only. Unsolicited Phase II proposals are not accepted at any time. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. The deadlines for invited proposals are 4:30pm (PT) on February 15 for consideration at the June board meeting, and by 4:30pm (PT) on August 15 for consideration at the December board meeting. If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) on the following Monday. The Foundation encourages earlier submissions.

Applicants will receive an email receipt confirming a proposal has been received. The Foundation will formally acknowledge receipt of Phase II proposals within four weeks. Upon receipt of a complete Phase II proposal, the Foundation will notify the institution if any additional information is required for the review process. After the Board of Directors has made its final grant decisions in a given grant cycle (June or December), all Phase II applicants will be notified in writing. The Foundation will not entertain any inquiries regarding the Board’s decision in the interim.

The Foundation is moving to online submissions as of November 1, 2017 and will not accept hard copy or facsimile submissions.

At any phase of the application process, an institution may request a withdrawal of its application without prejudice to future requests.

Grant Cycle Timeline:

Phase I Application Information:

Phase II Proposal Information:

Concept Papers:

Eligibility and Priorities:

Application Process:

Grant Abstracts:

Grantee Responsibilities:

Reporting Requirements:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Phase I Application:

Phase II is by invitation only. Once invited, an applicant can access the proposal in progress by logging into the account portal:

Email concept papers to:

W. M. Keck Foundation
550 South Hope Street
Suite 2500
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Allison M. Keller, Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President
Phone: 213-680-3833

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming