W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program Awards

Funding Organization: 
W.M. Keck Foundation
Type of Funding: 
Estimated Funding Amount: 
$1M budget in direct costs - 3 years
Proposal Deadline: 
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Award/Eligibility Description: 

The Award

  • The period of performance should be 3 years.
  • The budget should be exactly $1M in direct costs.


Both senior and early career researchers are encouraged to apply.
Many Keck proposals involve teams of PIs. Keck seeks proposals that are so novel there is little competition, and prefers pulling together “the right team” across institutes when necessary.

Institutional Limits

  • Institutions may submit a maximum of one Keck Phase 1 proposal under each of the following categories:
    • (i) medical research, and
    • (ii) science and engineering.
  • Phase 2 Proposals are by foundation invitation only.

Award Timeline:

  • GT Internal Research Summary Proposals due – April 18, 2021
  • GT applicants identified – July 15, 2021
  • Phase 1 Proposals due to sponsor – November 1, 2021

GT Internal Competition Submission Process

Use the Apply link associated with this notification to submit your GT Internal Concept Paper due by April 18, 2021.

The Concept Paper (1 page maximum, 12 pt font, 1" margins) must include:

  • Organization Name
  • Project Title
  • Full name of Principal Investigator
  • Keck Category - Medical Research or Science and Engineering
  • An overview of proposed project, emphasizing any unique aspects and/or pilot studies, and citing potential impact
  • Description of the methodologies and key personnel
  • Brief justification for why Keck funding is critical, and project is not suitable for other funding sources. (If you have been turned down in the past, please say so and include sponsor feedback.)
  • An estimated budget broken down by major areas, e.g., personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc. (budgets can be rough approximations at this stage)

Hints for Success

  • Keck does not fund
    • Clinical or translational work
    • Disease focused research
    • Core facility development
    • Climate change
    • Crowded fields with many funding sources (which they define broadly – recent examples: nanotechnology, neuroscience, etc.)
    • Projects where they are aware of others doing remotely similar work
    • Broad center efforts as opposed to laser-focused scientific projects
  • Keck prefers to provide seed funding that will allow PIs to demonstrate feasibility and de-risk novel ideas. Ideally at the end of the award progress is sufficient to make further research appealing for funding by more traditional sources. The proposed budget and timeframe should reflect understanding of this funding strategy.

GT Internal Competition Selection Criteria:

All submissions will be evaluated by a GT internal selection committee using the following criteria:

  1. Bold research, too risky to qualify for conventional funding
  2. Clear societal impact or profound new scientific knowledge
  3. Credible methodologies/plan to achieve goals

For More Information

  • Go to the W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program website. Be sure to look at the abstracts for projects that were recently funded by the foundation.
  • All questions about the internal competition should be directed to Susan Roche - 404.894.8802.
  • Please note: The GT Office of Foundation Relations handles all correspondence with the Keck Foundation, so we ask that researchers do not contact the Foundation directly.