WM Keck Foundation to host Open Forum on Wednesday

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Concept papers for the fall competition WM Keck Foundation are due to the VPR/ED office by noon on June 3. Learn more about the foundation, the types of projects it funds, and the application process at an open forum this Wednesday: The WM Keck Foundation: Open Forum Wednesday, May 8 11 a.m.-noon Gold Room, Memorial Union Offered by the ISU Foundation Projects of interest to the WM Keck Foundation must fit one or more of the following criteria:

  • Fall outside the mission of public funding agencies
  • Focus on emerging areas of research at the forefront of science, engineering and/or medicine
  • Have the potential to lead to breakthrough technologies
  • Are innovative, distinctive and interdisciplinary
  • Demonstrate a high level of risk in that the research pushes the edge of its field, represents unconventional approaches to intransigent problems, or challenges the prevailing paradigm
  • Have the potential for transformative impact, such as creation of a new field of research, development of new instrumentation enabling observations not previously possible

Instructions for submitting concept papers to the VPR/ED’s office:

The concept papers submitted will be reviewed by a committee selected by the Vice President’s office to determine academic merit and adherence to donor guidelines. The committee will recommend concepts that will then be discussed with our WM Keck Foundation program officer.

Based on Keck’s feedback, one of these concepts could be developed into a formal Phase 1 Application for their consideration. Phase I Applications (or pre-proposals) will be due to the WM Keck Foundation no later than November 1, 2013. If invited, a full proposal would be due in February 2014 for consideration at the foundation’s June board meeting.

Please use the format below and submit your concept papers to Sandra Norvell (snorvell@iastate.edu) in the VPR/ED’s Office no later than June 3, 2013.

Authors of selected concepts will be notified shortly thereafter and will work with the ISU Foundation to help them prepare to speak with Keck about the projects in July.

Keck Concept Papers – Summary of Project (no more than three pages):

Project Goal(s): Keeping in mind the Keck Foundation’s mission and goals, provide a summary of your concept (no more than 2 pages). Proposed concepts must demonstrate that it is a ‘leap’ in science and discovery, and not an incremental step. In addition, your project goals should address the following:

  • The potential impact of this project
  • The distinct and novel aspects of this project and its significance.  To answer this, also identify who else is doing similar work and why/how your project is different from competing groups
  • Indicate whether you have attempted to get federal (or other major) funding for this concept/idea. Keck Foundation does like to see where the ideas were submitted and the reasons why it was not funded, i.e., proof of principal needed, too risky, etc.

Collaborators: List potential collaborators and participants. Keck expects the research teams to have a history of collaboration. Evidence of this collaboration (i.e., publications, etc.) should be included in the concept paper (list the bibliography separately).

Budget: Provide a very rough budget estimate to indicate how the funds will be used and how the program will be sustained after the duration of the grant.


  • Estimated total cost of this project
  • Amount desired from the W.M. Keck Foundation and how the award would be applied
  • Institutional or other support

(Note: Maximum funding request is $1 million and Keck will not be the sole funder. The Keck Foundation expects a description of cost sharing at the time of Phase I application.  Concepts must indicate tentative plans/suggestions for institutional or other support.  Keck does not fund building/renovation projects; equipment may be considered as part of the research plan.)

Please visit wmkreck.org for additional information about the Science and Engineering and Medical Research programs.

If you have further questions, please contact Donna Van Pelt at  DVanpelt@foundation.iastate.edu or 4-1280.