W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program

Other Deadline:

Concept Paper due to ORA:

October 15, 2019

Semifinalists notified; concept paper drafting

October 25, 2019

Finalists notified:

No later than February 16, 2020

The W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program seeks to benefit humanity by funding fundamental, high-risk research in two specific areas: 1) medical research and 2) science and engineering. Both Senior and Early Career investigators are encouraged to apply. CWRU may submit two proposals per funding cycle: one in Medical Research and one in Science and Engineering Research.


Number of Applications
Two (One medical; one science and engineering)
Amount of Funding

Up to $1,000,000 over three years


Grants of up to $1 million over 3 years are awarded for projects in science and engineering research and medical research that:

  • Focus on basic, early-stage, emerging areas of research, not on clinical or translational research, treatment trials or research for the sole purpose of drug development.
  • Have the potential to develop breakthrough technologies, instrumentation or methodologies.
  • Have few, if any, peer groups pursuing comparable or related work.
  • Have a high level of risk due to unconventional approaches, or by challenging the prevailing paradigm.
  • Have the potential for transformative impacts, 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.
  • Fall outside the mission of public funding agencies. Provide specifics. If you've been declined federal funding, provide verbatim rejection language. If you have not applied for federal funding, you are encouraged to contact a program officer for validation that the project is NOT well suited for federal support
  • Demonstrate that the W. M. Keck Foundation's support is essential to the project's success.

Submission Process

Step 1:

Anyone wishing to pursue nomination for the program is encouraged to submit a brief "letter of intent" no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 17, 2019, to limited.submissions@case.edu in the form of an e-mail message not to exceed 250 words. 

Step 2:

Review of the LOIs will be completed by September 24, 2019.

Step 3:

For consideration as a finalist, investigators must submit a one-page concept paper to limitedsubmission@case.eduby 5:00 pm on  October 15, 2019.  The concept paper should include the following:

  1. A brief overview of the project and the scope of its impact
  2. Clearly articulated methodology (this is particularly important)
  3. Personnel
  4. Justification for Keck support (including verbatim federal rejection language) -- why this basic-science project is high-risk, confirm that it is early-stage
  5. High-level three years, $1 million budget (or 900,000, but must be a multiple of $100,000, either way)
Step 4:

The Internal Selection Committee will select candidates, who will be notified via e-mail then will be worked with to refine their concept papers for a conference call with the foundation (call does not include PIs) October 25, 2019.

Step 5:

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by February 16, 2019, and will receive application development assistance through meetings, proposal editing, proposal refinement, and submission coordination.

Step 6:

The final proposal must be received by the Office of Research Administration by April 24, 2020 at 5:00 pm EST.

Step 7:

The final proposal must be received by the sponsor by May 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm EST.


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
10/15/2019 10/25/2019 04/24/2020 05/01/2020 CLOSED