The W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by William Myron Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company, with the goal of generating far-reaching benefits for humanity.
To that end, the foundation welcomes applications for its Research Program, which supports pioneering discoveries in 1) medical research and 2) science and engineering. The program awards grants to research universities, medical colleges, and major private independent scientific and medical research institutions for projects that are focused on important and emerging areas of research; have the potential to develop a breakthrough technology, instrumentation, or methodology; are innovative, distinctive, and interdisciplinary; demonstrate a high level of risk due to an unconventional approach or by challenging a prevailing paradigm; and have the potential for transformative impact (e.g., the founding of a new field of research, the enabling of observations not previously possible, or the altered perception of a previously intractable problem). The program seeks to fund high-risk/high-impact work that lays the groundwork for new paradigms, technologies, and discoveries, save lives, and adds to our collective understanding of the world.
Grants ranging between $500,000 and $5 million (though typically $2 million or less) will be awarded for a period of one to five years.
Both senior and early-career investigators are encouraged to apply.
To be eligible, applicants must be tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and be designated as a public charity (and not a private foundation) as defined by section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) or 170(b)(1)(A)(I-VI); or be an exempt operating foundation as defined by section 4940(d)(2). If the institution is located in California, the organization must also be exempt from California state franchise or income tax under section 23701(d) of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
Applicants are strongly urged to contact foundation staff during the pre-application counseling period, which takes place between July 1 and August 15 leading up to a Phase 1 submission due date of November 1, 2020. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a Phase 2 proposal.
See the W. M. Keck Foundation website for complete program guidelines, application instructions, and abstracts of previously funded projects.