CALL FOR PROPOSALS: W.M. Keck Foundation Research Program

The W. M. Keck Foundation supports groundbreaking fundamental research in the areas of biological and physical sciences.  Basic research that seeks to establish new paradigms, develop innovative new technology and/or methodology, remove roadblocks that restricts progress in a field, or answer intractable problems, is given priority.  As big questions seldom fit into traditional silos, interdisciplinary research, such as an engineering-based approach to a biological question, is encouraged but is not required.  Where interdisciplinary teams are involved, the Foundation will examine carefully whether the appropriate expertise is included.  For example, biological research should include biologists to ensure the approach is biologically appropriate.  Where data analysis is an integral component of the project, a computer scientist as a research partner is important.  Young investigators are encouraged to apply or to be included in interdisciplinary research teams when their expertise is appropriate.

Research that is the next logical step for an investigator’s program, or that would be considered incremental, will not likely be successful.  Translational or clinical research, vector and drug development and miniaturization of existing technology are not considered.

Budget requests may be for up to $2 million and may be expended over 3-5 years.  The Foundation has relatively few grant dollars compared to the federal agencies, hence proposed research should not be fundable by federal or state agencies.  Some evidence of this is helpful (a conversation with a program officer, a declined proposal, lack of appropriate RFPs etc.) and should be included in the LOI. The Keck Foundation does not pay indirect costs, or tuition and fees for graduate students.

UCI may submit 1 Phase I proposal for each of the Medical and Science & Engineering tracks by the May 1st deadline. UCI has been encouraged to discuss preliminary concept papers with Keck Program Staff, facilitated through UCI’s Keck liaison: Executive Director of Foundation Relations, Roxanne Ford.

Interested applicants are asked to submit a preliminary concept paper to the VCR’s office by Monday, January 4, 2016, via UCI’s new competition management system: with the following information:

  1. One- page project summary (consistent with Keck’s requirements for a Phase I app.) containing:
  • Abstract:  Provide an executive summary of this project, including overall goal, methodology and significance, for a well-educated lay audience.
  • Unique Aspects:  Describe unique or distinctive aspects of this project.
  • Key Personnel:  Name the key personnel and describe their expertise, role in this project, and any collaborations/partnerships.
  • Budget: State total cost of this project, amount requested from the Keck Foundation, and the amount of institutional support. Describe how funds requested from Keck will be allocated among capital, personnel and equipment. .
  • Justification for WMKF support:  Explain why support from the Keck Foundation is essential for this project (i.e. this project cannot be, or is not likely to be supported by NIH, NSF or other typical funding agencies).
  1. Brief Biosketch or CV (no more than 2-pages) of the PI
To apply through the UCI competition management system:

  • Select “Apply” on the right hand side of the announcement page to fill out the online form, and upload required files
  • If you’re not already signed in, click “UCI WebLogin” and fill in your UCInetID username and password
  • All details are automatically saved as you enter them. When you are ready to submit, click “Submit Application” at the bottom of the page. You will receive a confirmation email once your application has been submitted.

After the internal deadline, if necessary, an ad hoc committee will convene to review the preliminary proposals.   After consultation with Keck, the selected PI(s) will be notified in time to meet the W.M. Keck deadline of May 1, 2016 for the Phase I application.

For the complete W.M. Keck criteria for these awards, please refer to  Questions about the Keck Research Program may be directed to Executive Director of Foundation Relations, Roxanne Ford, or Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Jacob Levin,  Questions regarding our internal campus review procedure should be forwarded to Greg Ruth at or x4-0372.

James W. Hicks
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor of Biology

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