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Concept Papers

Concept paper instructions for the Research and Southern California grant programs are listed below.

Research Program

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.


Southern California Program

Applicants are strongly urged to contact Foundation staff well in advance of submitting a Phase I application. However, before contacting the Foundation, please review the basic criteria for the Southern California Program on the Eligible Institutions page to ensure eligibility.

If the organization meets all of the criteria on the Eligible Institutions page, please contact the Southern California Program Coordinator at 213-612-2038 to discuss next steps. Our program staff may request a concept paper about your project and if a consultation is recommended, it will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis during the pre-application counseling period.  This 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. 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. We will refer other personnel contacting the Foundation to their central liaison. 

Single-paged concepts for the Southern California Program should be in 12 point font with 1 inch margins and should contain:

  1. An overview of the proposed project emphasizing any unique aspects, evidence of efficacy and/or piloted efforts
  2. Project timeline (if capital, specify construction start date)
  3. Estimated project cost and funds raised to date
  4. An explanation of how Keck dollars will be targeted and make a difference

In addition to the single-paged concept, please include a one-page fact sheet on the organization.

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

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