CFR & OR Limited Submission – Keck Foundation Grants

Oct 27, 2020 | Awards & Funding, Research

To: All Divisional Faculty and Researchers
From: The Office of Research & Office of Corporate and Foundations Relations
Subject: Keck Foundation Grants

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Limited Submission -Keck Foundation – Spring 2021 competition. Click on the link below to view more information. Thank you!

Internal Submission Deadline: Tuesday, December 1, 2020

  • Award Cycle: Spring 2021
  • Discipline/Subject Area: Medical Research and Science and Engineering
  • Funding Available: $1,000,000
  • Foundation Name: M. Keck Foundation
  • Foundation Program:  pring 2021 Cycle
  • Description: A joint announcement from the Offices of Research and Corporate and Foundation Relations

Keck Foundation – Spring 2021 Cycle

Internal Deadline: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Funder: Keck Foundation
Program: Spring 2021 Cycle
UCSC contacts:
Samantha Forde | CFR |
John MacMillan | OR |

Award Amount & Terms: Grants are typically ~ $1 million over 3 years.

The campus is soliciting internal proposals for the Spring 2021 Application Cycle. The WMKF’s two programs areas – Medical Research and Science and Engineering – support projects that:

  • Have the potential to develop novel 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; projects cannot be incremental advances of existing work.
  • Have the potential for transformative impact, such as the founding of a new field of research, the enabling of observations not previously possible or the altered perception of a previously intractable problem (this is critical to any successful proposal);
  • Provide a new “research resource” for the field;
  • Fall outside the mission of public funding agencies – note that the foundation prioritizes projects that have been submitted to and reviewed by federal funders, but deemed too risky and/or outside of scope by the NSF, NIH, etc.;

The foundation requires specific comments from the program officers explaining that the type of work is not funded;

  • Demonstrate that private philanthropy generally, and the WMKF in particular, is essential to the project’s success

Important Information

  • WMKF only accepts proposals for a university’s highest priority project(s). Therefore, an internal campus review and selection process must be completed before UCSC can submit. Proposals submitted through any other process will be rejected.
  • WMKF rarely funds in areas that the foundation has supported within the past 5-10 years. Before submitting a proposal, please review abstracts of past projects on the website to see if your research would be a new direction for funding for the foundation.
  • Please do not contact WMKF directly, as the foundation follows a very formal protocol. When a project is selected, Samantha Forde will facilitate dialog with the foundation’s program officer(s).

Eligibility: Research universities, medical colleges and major private independent scientific and medical research institutes are eligible to apply to the Research Program.

To apply: To be considered for nomination, materials should be submitted internally via InfoReady,, as follows:
Select “Apply” from the menu on the right-hand side.

Please submit the following two items for consideration:

  1. A one-page Concept Paper (12-point Times New Roman, one-inch margins) describing your research project. Please use these headers:
    • An overview of the research proposed emphasizing any unique aspects and pilot studies. This should outline how the work addresses the points outlined above (i.e., innovative, breakthrough approaches; transformative, high risk)
    • A brief description of the key personnel and methodologies. (Be sure to describe the potential quantitative and qualitative impacts of this project)
    • A brief justification of the need for Keck support. WMKF prioritizes projects that have already been submitted to and declined by federal funders, having been deemed too risky or falling outside programmatic funding parameters. We highly recommend that you consider submitting the project to federal funders, or contacting your program officer(s) to solicit feedback on your idea. If you have submitted the proposed project to other funders, please include reviews and/or any details of communications you have had with program officers, etc. (see below).
    • An estimated budget broken down by major areas (e.g., personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc., (budgets can be rough approximations at this stage).

You are free to add other details (e.g., background to put the research into perspective, description of prominence in the field, etc.) if there is room. Avoid illustrations in these single- pagers; you will need all the room for text.

  1. Summary of Cost Share/Space requirements and Proof of Previous Submissions. Please summarize on a separate sheet:
    • A preliminary estimate of the amount of campus cost-share desired to realize the project. Keck does not fund indirect costs/overhead, student tuition, PI salaries >10% of the annual salary or renovations in excess of >10% of request.
    • Requirements for space to conduct the project.
    • A list of agencies to which the project has been submitted previously, as well as any comments received and/or summary of discussions with program officers to whom you may have pitched the idea.

A faculty committee will review and select the most compelling Concept Papers for each program area.

Mid November CFR and OR will host WMKF workshops to answer faculty questions.

December 1, 2020: One-page Concept Paper with cost share summary due in InfoReady
December 16, 2020: Following internal campus review and down-select process, PI finalists notified and given opportunity to revise concept papers based on committee feedback;
January 5, 2021: Concept papers finalized; CFR Office submits Concept Papers for consultation with Keck program officers (consultation window is January 1 to February 15). Note: PIs will not be on the call per WMKF requirements.
February 22, 2021: Final project(s) selected to submit Phase I Application based on consultation with program officers. Once selected, the CFR office will work with PIs and Office of Research units (RD and OSP) to complete the application by the deadline.
May 1, 2021: UCSC Phase I Application due 4:30pm PDT on W.M. Keck Foundation web portal
July 15, 2021: Notification if invited to submit full Phase II proposal
August 15, 2021: Phase II Full Proposal due (if invited)
December 2021: Final decision made by WMKF; if selected, project would begin January 2022.

Special Instructions:
If you are selected as a campus nominee, you will be required to notify your OSP officer promptly to meet applicable internal deadlines and requirements.
Full proposal internal deadlines:

Call Sent: October 27, 2020

The Office Corporate and Foundation Relations is a unit of University Relations. The CFR team creates and maintains mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with private organizations, matching funding initiatives with educational and research programs and centers.
For a list of recent funding opportunities, please visit the CFR website. CFR Calls for Funding

View competition

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Samantha Forde | CFR | John MacMillan | OR |