W. M. Keck Foundation

Published October 23, 2017

UB Letter of Intent deadline is Nov. 20, 2017


W. M. Keck Foundation


The UB Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development and the UB Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations are pleased to invite faculty investigators to consider the following funding opportunities offered by the W.M. Keck Foundation (http://www.wmkeck.org).


Located in Los Angeles, the Keck Foundation supports pioneering research projects at U.S. universities and research institutions through two program areas:

  1. Medical Research
  2. Science & Engineering. 

The Foundation uses a two-phase application process: a Phase One Letter of Inquiry (LOI), followed by an opportunity to submit a full Phase Two Proposal if invited. Applicant institutions may submit one LOI per grant cycle for each of the Medical Research and Science & Engineering program areas.

We do not accept unsolicited proposals. Coordinate initial contact through the UB Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations. Personnel contacting the Foundation directly will be referred to this office. Keck Foundation staff typically schedules phone discussions with institutional liaisons regarding potential Phase One submissions between January 1 and February 15, 2018 (leading up to a May 1, 2018 submission).

We encourage both senior and early career investigators to apply. Funding is awarded to universities and institutions nationwide for projects that:

  • Focus on important and emerging areas of research
  • 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
  • Are projects that would not normally receive funding from federal agencies
  • Demonstrate a high level of risk due to unconventional approaches, or by challenging the prevailing paradigm
  • Are innovative, distinctive and interdisciplinary
  • Have the potential to develop breakthrough technologies, instrumentation or methodologies
  • Do not focus on clinical or translational research, treatment trials or research for the sole purpose of drug development
  • Demonstrate that private philanthropy generally, and the W. M. Keck Foundation in particular, is essential to the project’s success


UB may submit only one application per round in each program area.


Feedback from Keck’s senior program officers during our most recent round of submissions indicated that $1 million or less is the desired funding range. Please adhere to this range, despite information on the Keck website stating that grants range from $500,000 to $5 million (typically $2 million or less), with a duration of 1-5 years (typically 1-3 years). 

We also strongly encouarge applicants to review abstracts of research projects funded by the Keck Foundation. This avoids duplication if similar research has already been funded: http://www.wmkeck.org/grant-abstracts-final/research


In keeping with Keck’s limited submission guidelines, we encourage interested investigators to forward one-page concept papers to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development by Nov. 20, 2017, for consideration for the next funding cycle (May 1, 2018). You must adhere to the following concept paper guidelines:

  • One page with 12-point font and one inch margins;
  • Overview of the proposed project emphasizing any unique aspects and pilot studies;
  • Indicate area of emphasis for project – either Medical Research or Science & Engineering Research;
  • Description of the methodologies, key personnel and timeframe;
  • Brief justification of the need for Keck support (e.g. why Keck as opposed to other sources);
  • If you have been previously declined by governmental funders, please state so, and include any feedback you may have received relating to their decision;
  • Estimated budget broken down, if possible, by major areas, e.g., personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc. (budgets can be rough approximations at this stage);
  • If there's room, you may add other details (e.g., background to put the research into persepective, description of the institution's prominence in the field, etc.)
  • Avoid illustrations in order to provide more room for narrative;
  • If a reference is necessary, abbreviate it as (Science, 323, 45, ‘11). DO NOT USE (Jones et al., 2011).

In addition, include biosketches for the project’s key investigators.  Submit the concept paper, budget and CVs as a single pdf to ovpr.limitedsubmission@research.buffalo.edu.

Questions about this program should be sent to Don Elick, Assistant Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations at donelick@buffalo.edu.