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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:

02/15/20 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 required to submit an initial application prior to submitting a full proposal.

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:

Grant Cycle Timeline:

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

For awards to be determined in June:
Pre-application counseling: July 1 to August 15
Phase I application deadline: November 1
Notification of Invitation to Submit Full Proposal: January 15
Full Proposal deadline: Feburary 15

The W.M. Keck Foundation employs a two-phase application process. Applicants are strongly urged to contact Foundation staff well in advance of submitting a Phase I application. However, before contacting the Foundation, please review the basic criteria for the Southern California Program on the Eligible Institutions page to ensure eligibility.

If the organization meets all of the criteria on the Eligible Institutions page, please call the Southern California Program Coordinator to discuss next steps. The program staff may request a concept paper about your project and if a consultation is recommended, it will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis during the pre-application counseling period.

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

All applications must be submitted through the official liaison to the Foundation. Applications submitted through other personnel will not be accepted.

Applicants may submit one Phase I application online per grant cycle to each of the areas for which they are eligible: Medical Research, Science and Engineering Research, Undergraduate Education and Southern California.

Phase II is by invitation only. The Foundation will notify those applicants that are invited to submit a Phase II proposal. Please do not contact the Foundation to check on the status of an application or proposal. No inquiries regarding Phase I applications or Phase II proposals will be entertained in the interim. All Phase I applications and Phase II proposals take approximately four weeks to process and formally acknowledge. Unsolicited Phase II proposals are not accepted at any time

Grant cycle timeline:

Application Process:

Phase 1 applications:

Phase 2 proposals:


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
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