Research Program

Liaison Guidelines

The Role of the Liaison

All contact with the W. M. Keck Foundation must be through an applicant institution’s central development office via the designated institutional liaison. Most colleges and universities have designated an official liaison to the Keck Foundation.
The liaison serves as the sole point of contact for all communications between applicant institutions and the Keck Foundation. 

To ensure clear and consistent communications, it is important that this role is not delegated to others or otherwise changed unnecessarily.  If the liaison is unavailable for any period, a qualified and informed substitute must be available.  We do not accept communications from anyone other than the designated liaison unless specifically requested by the Foundation.

Please see the duties of the liaison for each step in the grant application process below:

Concept Counseling

During the pre-application concept counseling period, the liaison emails concept papers to the Keck Foundation and works with a program coordinator to schedule a concept counseling call.  The call is intended for a lay audience, and we appreciate liaison attendance.  Please see concepts counseling for more information on this phase.

Phase I Application

The Foundation expects liaison to take ownership of uploading applications to the Keck Foundation portal.  The portal will not recognize multiple users from the same institution, and liaisons must not share passwords with development staff or faculty.  If Foundation staff require additional documentation or information, a program coordinator will contact only the liaison.  Please see phase I application for more information on this phase.

Phase II Proposal

If the Foundation invites an application to Phase II, the liaison will be solely responsible for submitting the proposal through the W. M. Keck Portal.  The liaison will also work with a program coordinator to schedule a site visit.  This includes setting up test calls and potentially organizing travel logistics for Keck Staff.  Please see phase II proposal for more information on this phase.


If the Foundation awards a grant, the liaison must submit annual progress reports via the portal.  No institutional staff or faculty besides the liaison should submit these reports. Please see current grantees for more information on grant reporting.

The Foundation Portal

The W. M. Keck Foundation uses an online portal for applications and reporting.

Please note the definitions of Applicant Institution versus Payee Organization:


  • An Applicant Institution is the university, research institute, or hospital where research will be taking place.
  • A Payee Organization is the entity to which a grant payment will be made if awarded.  This may be different from the Applicant Institution, and is often a fundraising foundation or school system.  WMKF eligibility requirements apply to this entity.

Please direct further questions to a Foundation Program Coordinator or:

Please direct technical questions to: