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UNC Internal Deadline: 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 5, 2020

*Please distribute to relevant faculty*

Key Dates

UNC Internal Concept Papers Deadline: 11:59 PM, Friday, June 5, 2020

Keck Foundation Pre-counseling Window: July 1, 2020 through August 15, 2020

Keck Foundation Phase I Application Deadline: 4:30PM, Monday, November 2, 2020

Program Description

The W. M. Keck Foundation has a unique program focus and a non-standard selection process, described briefly here:

  • The Foundation is interested in concepts and projects so early-stage, and so high-risk that, should the project fail, very little of the work will be of value to future endeavors.
  • This program is not a career development application. The Foundation welcomes, and funds, projects submitted by faculty of any career stage with the appropriate expertise. Although there is only one PI for Keck proposals, it is expected that a multidisciplinary team will be assembled for the project.
  • Teams can include collaborators from other institutions; international collaborations are limited to 10% of the budget.
  • The Keck Foundation is not interested in applications for clinical, disease, or condition-specific projects; applied technologies; drug discovery; or projects that are a progression, incremental advance, or continuation of existing work.

Proposal Selection Process

The internal campus selection process is coordinated jointly by the UNC Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR), the Office of Research Development (ORD) and the School of Medicine’s Office of Research (OoR).

  1. ORD will solicit campus-wide Keck concept papers. Concept papers will be shared with a Faculty-at-Large council, [DTA1] for comment and feedback. Faculty will have a chance to revise their concept papers, based on internal feedback.
  2. CFR and ORD will present revised concept papers to the Keck Foundation for review; this review will be followed by a collective conference call between Keck program officials and UNC representatives to discuss the Foundation’s feedback.
  3. CFR and ORD will coordinate the selection of two institutional applicants—one for the Medical Research Program and one for the Science and Engineering Research Program—to go forward with a submission to the Foundation. Selection of the two institutional applicants will take into consideration the input of the Faculty-at-Large council and Keck Foundation representatives.

To Apply

Faculty interested in applying should use the one-page project description template (found as an attachment). This template conforms to the criteria required of the Keck Foundation, as detailed here.


Please note that the headers in red text describe the information needed. Please remove the headers in red before submitting your application. You may also remove the boxes if it impedes your document – they are meant to demonstrate the amount of information for a specific topic needed relative to the entire one-page proposal.


Please return the document to the Office of Research Development as ONE PDF, to by 11:59PM, Friday, June 5, 2020 to be considered for this application cycle. Instructions on how to complete the templates are self-contained.

Additional Information

For questions about the content of one-page project concepts for Keck, please contact Brooke Church, Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Health Affairs at or 919-962-0024.


For questions about the limited submission process, please contact the Limited Submissions Team at