W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program

  • Limited
  • Anywhere
  • Applications have closed

Website WM Keck Foundation

The W. M. Keck Foundation supports groundbreaking fundamental research in the areas of biological and physical sciences.  Basic research that seeks to establish new paradigms, develop innovative new technology and/or methodology, remove roadblocks that restrict progress in a field, or answer intractable problems, is given priority.  Proposals should answer the question, “What is the new science this project enables?”  UCI has had remarkable success with this Foundation in the past 10 years.  Grantees include Rob Spitale and John Chaput, Filippo Capolino and Eric Potma, Derek Dunn-Rankin, John Hemminger, Tony James, Enrico Gratton and Michelle Digman, and Kumar Wickramasinghe.   A summary document with additional information about applying to the Keck Foundation may be found here.


Budget requests may be for up to $1 million and may be expended over 3 years.  The Keck Foundation does not pay indirect costs, nor does it allow for tuition and fees for graduate students.

Projects Not Funded

Research that is the next logical step for an investigator’s program, or that would be considered incremental, will not be successful.  Translational or clinical research, vector and drug development, alternative energy and biodiversity studies, and miniaturization of existing technologies are not considered.  If Keck funded it recently, it is likely they will not fund a related project again.  Abstracts for funded projects are found on their website (http://www.wmkeck.org/grant-programs/research/medical-research-grant-abstracts)  Research that could be funded by the federal agencies (NIH, NSF, DoD) will not be competitive.

Internal Application Process

Interested applicants are asked to submit a preliminary concept paper to the VCR’s office by December 11, 2020, via UCI Review, with the following information:

  • One-page project summary (consistent with Keck’s requirements for a Phase I app.) using these headers:
    • Overview: Provide an executive summary written for a well-educated lay audience. Include your overall goals, any pilot studies or data that informs this project and the unique aspects and its significance. Clearly define “new science” this project would enable. If you are developing a new technology, explain the new questions this technology will allow you and others to ask.
    • Methodology:  Describe your goals and how you will approach them.
    • Key Personnel: List the key personnel and describe their expertise and role in this project. The team should include all expertise needed to address your question and likely will include more than one lab. .
    • Budget: State the total cost of this project and amount requested from the Keck Foundation. If these are different numbers, please explain where the other funding will come from. Identify how the funds requested from Keck will be allocated among capital, personnel and equipment.
    • Justification for WMKF support:  Explain why support from the KeckFoundation is essential for this project (i.e. this project cannot be, or is not likely to be supported by NIH, NSF or other typical funding agencies). Evidence that the research project is beyond the scope of governmental funding agencies is important (a conversation with a program officer, a declined proposal, lack of appropriate RFPs etc.) and should be referenced.
  • Brief Biosketch or CV (no more than 2 pages)

After the internal deadline, if necessary, an ad hoc committee will convene to review the preliminary proposals. After the Office of Research consults with Keck in January-February 2021, the selected PI(s) will be notified in time to meet the W.M. Keck deadline of May  1, 2021.

For the complete W.M. Keck criteria for these awards, please refer to http://www.wmkeck.org/grant-programs/research.

Questions about the Keck Research Program may be directed to Executive Director of Foundation Relations Roxanne Ford at fordmr@uci.edu. Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at greg.ruth@uci.edu or x4-0372.

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