W.M. Keck Foundation: Grants for Diseases

OVERVIEW: The W. M. Keck Foundation offers generous grants for basic medical research in emerging areas of research that have high potential for breakthroughs, yet are not winning government support. It does not back clinical or translational research.

IP TAKE:  Keck has an open application process, but very strict guidelines, so grantseekers should closely familiarize themselves with the requirements and deadlines before applying

PROFILE: The W.M. Keck Foundation was established by in 1954 by William Myron Keck, the founder of the Superior Oil Company. The foundation likes to support novel ideas: unorthodox and unconventional approaches to the research, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, or as the foundation puts it, those that challenge “the prevailing paradigm.” With over $1 billion in assets, it is one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States. It has focus areas in Research, Undergraduate Education, Southern California, and Special Projects.

The majority of Keck’s disease-related grants come from its Research Program, which has subprograms in medical research and science and engineering. The foundation’s medical research funding has supported the study of a wide range of subjects, including vaccination, speech disorders, sepsis, influenza, Zika, Hepatitis C, West Nile virus, Dengue, and microbiology. Past grantees include the Center for Infectious Disease Research, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the University of Chicago.

According to the foundation, grants typically range from $500,000 to $5 million, but most are $2 million or less. To qualify for a Keck Research Program grant, grantseekers must apply through an eligible institution, which includes research universities, medical colleges, and independent scientific and medical research institutes.

The Keck Foundation has one grant cycle per year with two phases, consisting of an initial application followed by a full proposal, if invited. The foundation advises interested grantseekers to make contact with foundation staff and submit a brief concept paper to see if they are a good candidate for funding.


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