The Keck Foundation seeks to support outstanding basic research that will have a significant impact in solving complex issues and problems. The foundation strives to fund research that is distinctive, novel, and even unique. Proposals should provide new and transformative prospective answers or approaches to underlying burning basic research questions in fundamental science and address issues that seem to be unsolvable, unattainable, or intractable. New discoveries in fundamental science could lead to new models, breakthroughs, or applications, potentially over a broad range of considerations

By transformative, the Keck Foundation seeks to challenge existing paradigms. A successful Keck proposal could lead to the creation of a new field of research, development of new instrumentation enabling observations not previously possible, or discovery of knowledge that challenges prevailing perspectives. Keck proposals are high-risk[1] projects that push the edge of the field(s), present unconventional approaches to intransient problems, and/or challenge the prevailing paradigm.

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 much less likely to be funded.

Keck also looks for outstanding project personnel who are 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.

The Keck Foundation has advised Oregon State University that the maximum amount of funding we should seek on any research proposal is $1 million for a project up to three years. Further application details can be found at


If you are interested in submitting a concept paper for consideration, please carefully review the following information on the timeline for this funding cycle.

A concept paper submitted and accepted for this funding cycle would result in the following deadlines during 2020:

  • June 17  - Deadline for concept papers submitted to the OSU Foundation

  • June 18 - 30  - Research Office reviews concept papers and selects 1- 4 concepts for pre-application advice from Keck in each research area.

  • July 1 - Aug 15  - Research Office has pre-application advice session with Keck and selects up to one proposal for medical research

  • Aug 15 - 28  - Research Office notifies PIs of Keck feedback and whether PI can submit a Phase I application to Keck.

  • November 1  - Phase I deadline

  • January 15 -  Keck notifies PI if s/he is invited to submit full proposal.

Anyone wishing to be considered for this funding cycle at Keck must be available to meet the above deadlines. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Please keep in mind that Keck has two funding cycles per year. A concept paper on your research project could be considered for future funding cycles if the timeline for this funding cycle does not work for your schedule. At the present time, the OSU Foundation and the Research Office plans to run a new Keck cycle every six months.



Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Date Open: 
Monday, April 29, 2019
Keck Foundation
Limit per Institution: