Office of Research

Science and Engineering / Medical Research January 2020 Cycle

The W.M. Keck Foundation's Research Program seeks to benefit humanity by supporting high-risk/high-impact 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. Keck-funded projects have included the development of promising new technologies, instrumentation or methodologies that lay the groundwork for new paradigms, breakthrough technologies, and discoveries that will save lives, provide innovative solutions, and add to our understanding of the world.


Attached is a document detailing guidance for developing a strong concept for the Keck Foundation, provided by UW Corporate and Foundation Relations.



Program Priorities:

  • Focus on important and emerging areas of research
  • Have the potential to develop breakthrough technologies, instrumentation or methodologies
  • Are innovative, distinctive and involve interdisciplinary teams
  • 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
  • Do 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


Potential applicants are encouraged to look at summaries of past awards on the Keck Foundation website ( Please note that once it has funded a new idea, the Keck Foundation looks for the next thing. It does not typically fund a given topic or area or new technology more than once.  

Application Instructions

Please submit:

  1. a one-page letter of intent, with a title, and with a description of proposed aims and approach
  2. Biosketch or CV of the PI (not an NIH or NSF biosketch)


to by 5:00 PM Thursday January 9, 2020. Proposals are due to the sponsor 5/1/20, so you will need to have your materials in to the Office of Sponsored Programs by 4/22/30 for processing, if given the go ahead by the Proposal Review Committee.

Opportunity Details

Program web page

Program Announcement No.

2020 January

01/09/2020 UW Internal Deadline Closed
04/22/2020 OSP Deadline
05/01/2020 Sponsor Deadline

W. M. Keck Foundation

Funding amount

$2,000,000 (up to $2M, but with substantially greater justification required for requests that are significantly more than $1M)

Maximum Number of Applications

2 (1 medical, 1 science and engineering)

Eligible groups
  • All campus

Inquiries and Contact Information

Investigators who identify a grant, award or fellowship program that restricts the number of applications that can be submitted from an Institution should immediately contact their Chairperson, Associate Dean for Research (or Dean, if no ADR) and the Office of Research (see below) if they intend to prepare a response. Failure to do so, or to meet the deadlines for submission of pre-proposal, will preclude submission of the application through the Office of Sponsored Programs.

For general inquiries, or to request a listing of a limited submission opportunity that should be but is not already listed, please email us at