W. M. Keck Foundation Research Programs

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The W. M. Keck Foundation Research Programs provides competitive grant funding ranging between $500,000 to $5,000,000 over 1 to 5 years, with average awarded grants typically being $2,000,000 or less. Keck Foundation awards are highly competitive with only four to five grants awarded per semiannual program cycle.

The Foundation seeks to fund projects that:

  • Focus on emerging areas of research at the forefront of medicine, science and/or engineering
  • Have the potential to lead to breakthrough technologies, instrumentation or methodologies
  • Are innovative, distinctive and interdisciplinary
  • Demonstrate a high level of risk due to unconventional approaches, or by challenging the prevailing paradigm
  • Have the potential for transformative impact
  • Enabling observations not previously possible, or altered the perception of a previously intractable problem
  • 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

Keck’s Research Programs do not fund clinical or translational research, treatment trials or research for the sole purpose of drug development. Other funding restrictions include disease-specific research, bricks-and-mortar, and core facilities, public policy research and projects that receive federal or other public agency funding.

Application Materials

Georgetown University is allowed to submit one application in each program areas (Medical Research and Science & Engineering). If you would like to pursue this opportunity, please submit:

  • One-page concept paper to include: (1) overview of proposed project emphasizing unique aspects and pilot studies; (2) description of key personnel and methodologies; (3) justification of need for Keck support; and (4) budget estimate using major categories (e.g., personnel, equipment, supplies)
  • NIH-type biosketch (5-page limit)

as a single document (both concept paper and biosketch) to Jennifer Kluge at jck67@georgetown.edu (new window) no later than Monday, June 10, 2019. Concept papers will be reviewed internally by the External Awards Review Committee. For the selected concept papers, the foundation’s deadline for Phase 1 proposals is November 1, 2019.


  • Internal application deadline: June 10, 2019
  • Fund Pre-Application Counseling Period (if nominated): July 1 to August 15, 2019
  • Phase I application deadline (if nominated): November 1, 2019, by 4:30 PM PT
  • Phase II application deadline (if invited): February 15, 2020


Visit the W.M. Keck Foundation Research Programs websit for more information.

For proposal assistance contact, Becky Pfordresher, Interim Senior Director, Corporate & Foundation Relations, (202) 687-1067 or Becky.Pfordresher@georgetown.edu (new window) , who is the university liaison registered with W.M. Keck Foundation.