Research Management Group (RMG)

W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program
"Call for Concept Papers"

***Limited $1 million funding opportunity—a university-wide internal selection process is required (first at the school level, then at the Dean of Research Office). Faculty with PI eligibility (with UTL, MCL, and NTL-Research appointments) across the natural and earth sciences, engineering, and medicine at all ranks are eligible. Keck has a stated interest in interdisciplinary research, thus proposals may also come from a team of faculty across departments, disciplines, or schools.

Projects should focus on emerging areas of research at the forefront of science, engineering and medicine, or have the potential to lead to breakthrough technologies in these areas. Thus, high-risk projects are encouraged, and the foundation recognizes that not all such projects will succeed.

# of applicants permitted
Up to eight concept papers total may be submitted to the foundation, one of which (for each program) may then be selected to advance to the Phase I application process.
See the internal submission guidelines below >>.

Internal deadline for each School (see contacts below**):  Mon., January 14, 2019, 5 p.m. (see the internal submission guidelines at the end of this message)
Each school and SLAC submits their top 3 concept papers to the Dean of Research Office (c/o Jeanne Heschele): Jan. 22, 2019
The Dean of Research Office Limited Program Review Committee meeting date: Jan. 31, 2019
Phase I application due:  May 1, 2018
Notification of Invitation to full Phase II proposal:   July 15, 2019
DATE : Full proposal/Phase II deadline (by invitation):  Aug. 15, 2019

**School Contacts:
Faculty will submit their internal proposals, per the internal submission guidelines at the end of this message, to their school's respective contact person:


Stanford University contact for questions:
Brooke Groves-Anderson at 725-6250 or

Sponsor website:
This email contains the complete Concept Paper guidelines.
For general information about the foundation, please see this webpage:


Amount of funding:
Keck is currently asking that we hold funding requests to not more than $1 million.
Awards may fund a multi-year project over a period of up to five years.

Although Keck does not require formal cost sharing, the foundation does not like to be the sole funder of a project and likes to see a significant commitment to the project from the applicant’s home institution. Toward the Stanford commitment, Keck will recognize overhead (it does not pay indirect costs, including the university infrastructure charge) and graduate student support, as well as commitments of space, renovations, and equipment.

W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program

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 Guidelines - Programmatic Criteria:

Grant recipients:
For additional guidance, be sure to review abstracts for recent grants made by the Keck Foundation:
Stanford recipients-Medical Research Area:
2014 Manu Prakash-Bioengineering and Zev Bryant-Bioengineering $1M
2013 Josh Elias-Chemical and Systems Biology $1M
Stanford recipients- Science and Engineering Area:
2017 David Reis-Applied Physics & Photon Science, Philip Bucksbaum-Physics, Jelena Vuckovic-Electrical Engineering, and Shanhui Fan-Electrical Engineering $1M
2014 Mark Kasevich-Physics/Applied Physics, Leo Holberg-Physics, Peter Graham-Physics $1M
2010- David Goldhaber-Gordon-Physics, Soucheng Zhang-Physics, and Yi Cui-Materials Science and Engineering $1M

Projects Ineligible for Funding


Concept Paper Guidelines
See the internal submission guidelines >> at the end of this message. The following is for your reference.
Concept papers should be one page, single-spaced, using 12-point font and 1-inch margins, inclusive of illustrations and references. Papers longer than a page will not be read by the Foundation; thus, illustrations are discouraged at this stage. Each concept paper should include:

Concept Paper Suggestions


By  Mon., January 14, 2019, 5 p.m., each faculty member should submit one PDF file containing the following in the order listed below to their respective school's representative:

PDF file name: Last name_Keck_Concept_Paper.pdf

Institutional representatives: not applicable. You can submit your internal proposals directly to your school's contact person.

1) Title Page
W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program-Call for Concept Papers
Title of your proposal
PI name, title, department, contact information (including address, email, phone)

2) Nomination letter, printed on your department letterhead addressed as follows**, signed by your division chief or your department chair
This letter should address the dollar amount of the proposal and confirmation that the department is committed to working with the applicant to identify additional funds needed, including the university infrastructure charge.

** Each nomination letter should be addressed as follows (according to your respective school):

3) One-page description of proposed project, see Concept paper guidelines and suggestions above

4) For each PI and Co-PIs: separate lists of all funding, current and pending (include name of sponsor, amount and term of funding) and include the name of the PI or Co-PI on each page.

Selection process
Each School will select their top 3 concept papers to forward to the Dean of Research Office (c/o Jeanne Heschele) by Jan. 22, 2019, for distribution to the Dean of Research limited program review committee. That committee will meet on Jan. 31st to select up to eight proposals to be forwarded to Brooke Groves-Anderson in the Office of Development, the liaison with the Keck Foundation, for further follow up.



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