Grantee Responsibilities / Grant Agreement

Potential applicants are advised that by submitting a request they are consenting to comply with the following requirements if a grant is awarded:

 

  • The grantee, as a condition of accepting the funds, affirms that the entire proceeds will be used to implement the charitable purposes of the project for which the grant is made.  No general or administrative overhead expenses, indirect, or investment management fees may be charged to this award.  The grantee further affirms that no funds have been or will be paid to anyone engaged in fundraising or public relations for services rendered in obtaining the grant.
  • Should the grantee (a) become aware that the purposes for (and/or implementation of) this grant have become impracticable, (b) wish to terminate the charitable project funded, (c) wish to redirect the purpose of the grant, or (d) make a change in lead personnel, the grantee must immediately notify the Foundation in writing.  In such event, the Foundation may, in its sole discretion, among its other rights and remedies, terminate this grant and require the grantee to immediately repay the Foundation any unspent principal.
  • Should the grantee wish to make alterations or additions to the approved budget totaling 10% or more in any budget category, prior approval from the Foundation is required.
  • All funds granted by the Foundation to the Grantee, until used by the Grantee for purposes of this grant, must be placed in a separate segregated account and may not be used for any other purpose or invested in any manner that would jeopardize or impair their availability for the purposes of this Grant or for any return to the Foundation as required by this “Grantee Responsibilities/Grant Agreement.”
  • Written progress reports and a financial accounting on the earnings and expenditure of grant funds must be submitted to the Foundation through the online Grantee Portal.
  • The grantee must secure Foundation approval in writing before releasing any public announcements or statements to the media regarding the grant, referencing it in internally produced publications, or making any commitments for permanent recognition of the W. M. Keck Foundation.  The Foundation reserves the right to publish the abstract submitted by the grantee.  In addition, we may include a link to the website of the recipient institution and/or describe the grant project in Foundation publications.
  • The grantee agrees it meets the eligibility requirements (including the tax eligibility requirements) outlined on the W. M. Keck Foundation’s website.
  • This grant agreement will be deemed to have been entered into in the County of Los Angeles, State of California; and, California law will apply to the interpretation and enforcement of the grant provisions.


Revised December 2020

Grant Cycle Timeline

For Research Program awards to be determined in December:

Pre-application Counseling*Phase I Application DeadlineNotification of Invitation to Submit Full ProposalFull Proposal Deadline
January 1 to February 15 May 1 July 15 August 15

 

For Research Program awards to be determined in June:

Pre-application Counseling*Phase I Application DeadlineNotification of Invitation to Submit Full ProposalFull Proposal Deadline
July 1 to August 15 November 1 January 15 February 15

 

* Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their ideas for grants early in the form of single-page concept papers to allow time to schedule a possible consultation.

Applicants may submit one Phase I application per grant cycle to each of the following areas for which they are eligible: Medical Research and Science and Engineering Research.

The Foundation accepts only online submissions and will NOT accept hard copy or facsimile submissions.  Deadlines for Phase I applications and Phase II proposals are 4:30pm (PT) on the deadline days noted above.  If a deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to 4:30pm (PT) on the following Monday.

Submission of Phase II proposals is by invitation only.  If a full proposal is invited, site visits or conference calls are conducted at the discretion of the Foundation and are generally scheduled in September and October for the December cycle and March and April for the June cycle.

 

Southern California Program

We are streamlining our Southern California Program’s application process and updating our timeline.  These changes will go into effect for our June 2022 grant cycle.  Please check back for updated information.

W. M. Keck Foundation Grantees win Nobel Prizes in Physics & Chemistry

Congratulations to Keck Foundation grantees on winning the Nobel Prize!

Dr. Andrea Ghez

Keck grantee, Dr. Andrea Ghez of UCLA, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in October for her discoveries related to black holes, regions of space so dense that nothing can escape their gravitational pull. This is doubly exciting for the Foundation, as Dr. Ghez conducts her research on the Keck Telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

Early in her career at UCLA, Professor Ghez helped develop adaptive optics, which allows astronomers to correct the distorting effects of the Earth's atmosphere and better understand a region called Sagittarius A* at the center of our galaxy.  Her research in the 1990s showing that a supermassive compact object exists within Sagittarius A* answered a question of great debate among astronomers and tested Albert Einstein's iconic general theory of relativity.

In 2011, the W. M. Keck Foundation awarded a $1 Million grant to UCLA for Dr. Ghez to optimize those adaptive optics by greatly improving their measurement capabilities.  Then in 2016, we made another $1 Million grant to Dr. Ghez and her team to develop new computational approaches allowing integration of their observations over three decades.

Professor Ghez shares this year's prize with Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford, and Reinhard Genzel of UC Berkeley and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

 

Dr. Jennifer Doudna

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Keck grantee Dr. Jennifer Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing.  She shares this year's prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier.

With CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and micro-organisms with extremely high precision.  The CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tools have revolutionized the molecular life sciences, brought new opportunities for plant breeding, are contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true, according to a press release from the Nobel committee.

In 2015, the W. M. Keck Foundation awarded a $1 Million grant to UC Berkeley for Dr. Doudna and her team to develop a nanowire platform that can deliver genome engineering machinery into primary human immune cells.  In her final report, Doudna acknowledged that nanowires proved to be of limited efficiency for CRISPR-Cas9 delivery to cells.  Instead, application of electric fields proved to be more effective and, with this Keck funding, the team optimized the electric field delivery system for cell genome engineering.  Recently, Dr. Doudna emphasized to the Foundation that, "Our team's work on the project catalyzed an ongoing group working on genome editing delivery to human immune cells and other cell types.... Without funding for the risky (unsafe) bet, we would still be stuck years behind the curve."

 

Drs Ghez and Doudna brings the total number of Nobel laureates the W. M. Keck Foundation has funded to eight.

Concept Papers

 

Research Program Concept Paper Guidelines

First time applicants: If your institution is applying to the Foundation for the first time, please do so through your central development office and make sure to submit all the required tax and audit documentation listed under our Eligibility and Priorities page.

All concept counseling call requests must be submitted by the designated institutional liaison.  Only one conference call will be scheduled for each institution to discuss all concepts.  These may include up to 8 concepts in the Research Program as follows: up to 4 concepts in the Science and Engineering area and up to 4 concepts in the Medical Research area.  To ensure productivity of your call, liaisons are strongly encouraged to invite administrators who are familiar with the projects and involved in the limited selection process.  Note that principal investigators may not join the call.

Concept counseling calls are scheduled on a first come, first served basis and there is no wait list.  Early submissions are highly recommended for this popular session.  The Foundation will start accepting concept call requests in late June and mid-December.

To schedule a concept counseling call, the designated liaison must email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following items:

  1. Designated cover page
  2. Single-paged concept papers meeting the requirements below
  3. Brief bios for all call participants (a separate documents containing a short paragraph, at the minimum a full name and title, no CVs).
  4. New institutions only: tax and audit documentation as listed on the Eligibility and Priorities page.

Single-paged concepts for the Research Program should be in 12 point font with 1 inch margins and should include:

  1. Organization Name
  2. Project title
  3. Full name of Principal Investigator
  4. An overview of the proposed project emphasizing any unique aspects and pilot studies (indicate area of emphasis for project - medical research or science and engineering research)
  5. A description of the methodologies and key personnel
  6. A brief justification of the need for Keck Foundation support, and
  7. An estimated budget broken down, if possible, by major areas, e.g., personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc. (budgets can be rough approximations at this stage)
  8. If possible, within the 1-page limit, the authors may add other details (e.g., background to put the research into perspective, description of the institution’s prominence in the field). Avoid illustrations in these single-pagers – the researchers will need all the room for text. If a reference is necessary, abbreviate it as (Science, 323, 45, ‘11). DO NOT USE (Jones et al., 2011).

Note to liaisons: All final, relevant concepts and bios must be submitted within three days of your scheduled call or your call time will be forfeited.

In selecting concepts to discuss, we encourage your team to visit our grant abstracts to review the types of research projects and award amounts that have been recently funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation.

 

Send your concepts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Foundation's funding priorities?

The Foundation strives to fund endeavors that are distinctive and novel in their approach. It encourages projects that are high-risk with the potential for transformative impact. "High-risk" comprises a number of factors, including questions that push the edge of the field, present unconventional approaches to intractable problems, or challenge the prevailing paradigm. In all our programs, "transformative" may mean creation of a new field of research, development of new instrumentation enabling observations not previously possible, or discovery of knowledge that challenges prevailing perspectives. In addition to the above, in the Southern California Program, transformative may also mean positioning an organization for growth and adaptability. Applicants may find it helpful to look over the abstracts of recent grants for understanding funding priorities. Grant abstracts may be found on our website within the particular program of interest.

Do you give grants to individuals?

No, the Foundation only makes grants to eligible institutions.

How do I determine if my organization is eligible to apply for a grant?

For a complete list of eligibility requirements for each program area, please click on the following links:

Research Program

Southern California Program

The Foundation no longer accepts Undergraduate Education Program grant applications.  We support Undergraduate Education only through transformative special projects.

Do you give grants outside the United States?

No, the Foundation restricts its grantmaking to organizations located within the United States.

Can a research collaborator be funded outside of the United States?

Yes, but only a maximum of 10% of the requested amount can be paid to a collaborator outside the United States.

Do you give grants to organizations outside California?

The Foundation's Research Program funds projects nationwide. The Southern California Program restricts grants to organizations headquartered in Southern California that serve communities in Los Angeles County or national or statewide organizations that (a) have an independent affiliate, or (b) a local chapter or local office with program staff based in Los Angeles County.

Do you fund capital projects?

Not in the Research Program. However, the Southern California Program currently does fund capital projects.

What do you specifically not fund?

For a complete list of projects not eligible for funding in each program area, please click on the following links:

Research Program

Southern California Program

Do you give grants for general operating support?

No, the Foundation does not make grants for general operating support.

Do you sponsor events or dinners?

No.

Does the Foundation provide scholarship or fellowship grants?

No, the Foundation does not accept applications for grants to individuals or to endowments for scholarships or fellowships.

Do I have to contact Foundation staff prior to submitting a request?

Research Program

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Foundation staff during the pre-application counseling period, which takes place between January 1 and February 15 leading up to a May 1 Phase I submission, or between July 1 and August 15 leading up to a November 1 Phase I submission.  Potential applicants are encouraged to submit their ideas for grants in the form of single-page concept papers during the pre-application counseling period.  Consultations are scheduled on a first come, first served basis during the pre-application counseling period.  For more information about deadlines, please see our Grant Cycle Timeline.

Initial contact from a multi-unit organization (such as a college, university or agency branch location) must be coordinated through the institution's central development office. Most colleges and universities have designated an official liaison to the Foundation. Other personnel contacting the Foundation will be referred to the central liaison.

Southern California Program

The Southern California Program’s Concept Review process provides the opportunity to confirm your organization’s eligibility and receive feedback from Foundation staff. While participation in the Concept Review is not a prerequisite for applying to the Southern California Program, it is strongly encouraged. The Concept Review process starts in the W. M. Keck Foundation online portal. The portal is open for this process from October 1 until November 15 for our June grant cycle and from April 1 until May 15 for our December grant cycle.

How often can I apply for a grant?

Applicants may submit one Phase I application online per grant cycle to each of the following areas for which they are eligible: Medical Research, Science and Engineering Research, and Southern California.

Are there deadlines for applications? If so, what are the dates?

Research Program

Yes. Deadlines for Phase I applications are 4:30pm (PT) on May 1 to be considered for the December grant cycle, and 4:30pm (PT) on November 1 to be considered for the June grant cycle. If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) the following Monday.

Submission of Phase II proposals is by invitation only. The deadlines for invited proposals are 4:30pm (PT) on February 15 for consideration at our June board meeting, and by 4:30 pm (PT) on August 15 for consideration at our December board meeting. If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30 p.m. (PT) on the following Monday.

The Foundation encourages earlier submissions for both Phase I and Phase II.

See the Grant Cycle Timeline for additional information.

Southern California Program

Yes.  Deadlines for Southern California Program's applications are 4:30pm (PT) on January 5 to be considered for the June grant cycle, and 4:30pm (PT) on July 5 to be considered for the December grant cycle. If either date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is 4:30pm (PT) the following Monday.  The Foundation encourages earlier submissions.

See the Grant Cycle Timeline for additional information..

May I send an application by fax, email or mail?

No.  The Foundation only accepts submissions online via the applicant portal.

Does your staff conduct site visits so we can present our project?

Research Program

Yes. If an applicant is invited to submit a Phase II Proposal, staff may, at their discretion, conduct a site visit or conference call to gain additional information about the program or project.

Southern California Program

The Southern California Program's Site Visit is by invitation only.  After review of your completed application we will notify you whether or not you are invited to a Site Visit.

When are grants made?

Grants are approved at the Foundation's board meetings in June and December.

What is the average size and duration of your grants?

The average size and duration of grants varies by project and program area.

Research grants range from $500,000 to $5 million, and are typically $2 million or less. Duration of grants ranges from one to five years.  

Southern California grants range from $100,000 to $1 million, but typically are under $500,000.  Only multi-year grants are considered and requests under $100,000 and over $1 million will not be considered.

The Foundation no longer accepts Undergraduate Education Program grant applications.  We support Undergraduate Education only through transformative special projects initiated by the Board of Directors.

How many grants are made each year?

The number of grants made varies each year.

Can I request a no cost extension?

No cost extensions can be approved at the discretion of Foundation staff. See the For Grantees section of our website for additional information.

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