Oregon State University

Keck Foundation

Date:  October 24, 2013

To:  Deans and Directors

From:  Research Office

Funding Opportunity:  Keck Foundation - Call for concept papers

Deadline:  November 18, 2013


This is a call for concept papers for research projects in science, engineering or medical research that meet the funding interests of the W.M. Keck Foundation.  Please forward this call for concept papers to department chairs and faculty who may be interested.


The Keck Foundation seeks to support outstanding basic research in science, engineering and medicine that will have a significant impact in solving complex issues and problems. The Foundation strives to fund endeavors that are distinctive and novel in their approach.

Keck encourages projects that are high-risk with the potential for transformative impact. "High-risk" comprises a number of factors, including questions that push the edge of the field, present unconventional approaches to intransient problems, or challenge the prevailing paradigm. "Transformative" may mean creation of a new field of research, development of new instrumentation enabling observations not previously possible, or discovery of knowledge that challenges prevailing perspectives.

The Keck Foundation looks for projects that would not qualify for federal funding from agencies like NSF and NIH due to the project’s high-risk nature.  Projects that have received federal funding or that have applications pending for federal funding are unlikely to be funded.

Keck also looks for outstanding project personnel who are very accomplished in terms of publications and journal citations, and highly regarded in their area of research. Keck is open to funding faculty at either the junior or senior level.

Further details can be found at:


Concept Paper

Concept papers should include the following:

  • Abstract of the research proposed emphasizing unique aspects of the project
  • Mention of any pilot studies or data, including unpublished findings, that support the core idea
  • Brief description of the key personnel
  • Brief justification of the need for Keck support
  • Length of time for the project
  • Availability of or potential for matching funds from OSU or other funding sources
  • Estimated budget showing major areas of expenditures such as personnel, equipment, consumable supplies, etc. 
  • Description of any federal funding received or pending for this project. 

Keck awards up to $1 million in direct costs for a research grant.  These direct costs can include up to 10% FTE for PI salaries.  Keck will not pay student tuition, but will allow costs for graduate student stipends.  Duration of research projects typically is 1 – 3 years, but can run up to 5 years. 

Concept papers are limited to one page in 12 point font with 1” margins.  Please submit the concept paper as a Word document.  Do not include illustrations in the concept paper.

Interested faculty should email their concept paper to Martha Coleman, Director of Principal Gifts for Foundation Relations at the OSU Foundation.  Her email address is Martha.Coleman@oregonstate.edu.  Any questions about these concept papers can be directed to Martha Coleman at 503-553-3409.


If interested in submitting a concept paper for consideration, please carefully review the following information about the timeline for this funding cycle.  A concept paper submitted for this funding cycle would result in the following deadlines:

November 18, 2013 -  Deadline for concept papers submitted to Martha Coleman at Martha.Coleman@oregonstate.edu

November 20 -            Research Office reviews concept papers, and selects 1- 3 concepts

December 6, 2013       for pre-application advice from Keck

January 1 -                   Research Office has pre-application advice session with Keck

February 14, 2014       staff on selected concept paper(s)

February 17 -               Research Office notifies PIs of Keck feedback and whether PI

February 21, 2014       can submit a Phase I application to Keck

May 1, 2014                Phase I deadline                                 

July 15, 2014               Keck notifies PI if s/he is invited to submit Phase II proposal

August 15, 2014         Phase II deadline                               

December 2014           Keck Board meeting for review and funding decision

Anyone wishing to be considered for this funding cycle at Keck must be available to meet the above deadlines. 

Please note that Keck has two funding cycles per year.  If this funding cycle does not work for your schedule, you could consider submitting a concept paper for your research project for a future funding cycle.  

Other Considerations

If you have proposed this project to other funders, please provide that information as an addendum to your concept paper.  This includes both proposals currently pending a decision and proposals that have been declined.

Keck looks for strong evidence of institutional support for a proposed research project.  Keck considers projects favorably that present a matching amount of institutional resources.  Keck also favorably regards projects that have obtained or applied for support from external private funding sources.  Keck will allow the OSU indirect costs of the project to be counted as institutional support.

Keck asks that the PI of a proposal disclose if he/she is considering leaving the institution. 



Contact Info

Incentive Programs
Research Office
Oregon State University
A312 Kerr Administration
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone 541-737-8390
Fax 541-737-9041
Copyright ©  2014 Oregon State University