The W. M. Keck Foundation was founded with the goal of generating far-reaching benefits for humanity. Following the ideals of its founder, the Foundation supports outstanding science, engineering and medical research, and, in Southern California, arts and culture, education, health, and community services projects that will have a significant impact in addressing complex issues and problems.
The Foundation strives to fund endeavors that are distinctive and novel in their approach. It encourages projects that are high-risk and have 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 intractable problems, or challenge the prevailing paradigm.
To develop a novel strategy for promoting and supporting high-impact biomedical research, the W. M. Keck Foundation made a gift to the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) aimed at supporting junior faculty in the DGSOM and in other schools engaged in biomedical research at UCLA. It is a honor for UCLA to be selected for this gift and represents an strong commitment from the W.M Keck Foundation for research at UCLA.
The goal of the W. M. Keck Foundation Junior Faculty Awards is to support outstanding early career scientists who are 4-6 years into their first assistant professor position with a $500,000 grant ($250,000 per year for two years). Assistant professors report that they often hit a road block in resources for their research program 4-6 years after starting their professorship when their start-up funds have been spent down and their first NIH grant is up for renewal. There are very few funding opportunities outside of renewing their NIH grants or securing additional NIH funding. This limits the ability of these young faculty to pursue their most creative, bold, and potentially impactful ideas.
In recognition of the strategic vision described above, up to 2 W. M. Keck Foundation Junior Faculty Awards are being made to UCLA each year. In Phase I, eligible faculty from throughout the UCLA campus are invited to submit a 1-page Letter of Intent (LOI) by July 20 that outlines the proposed project, along with a biosketch in NIH format. Eligible faculty are those in the Regular Series or In-Residence series who were first appointed as an Assistant Professor at any institution in any series between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2016. These narrow criteria were selected to fulfill the strategic vision described above and because of the highly competitive nature of this funding opportunity, with only 2 awards available each year. Proposals are to focus on biomedical research and will be evaluated according to the following priorities of the W. M. Keck Foundation (see Evaluation Criteria below).
The Review Committee will select between 6 and 10 applicants to proceed to Phase II. Candidates will be notified of the invitation to submit a full proposal by July 31, 2020. Full proposals will consist of a lay summary, a description of the transformative nature of the proposed research, a 5-page research proposal describing the specific aims, significance, background, preliminary data, and experimental approach, followed by cited literature, budget, budget justification, and NIH biosketch. The deadline for full proposals to be submitted to the UCLA Review Committee is September 14, 2020.
The internal review committee will evaluate the full proposals and select up to 4 that they believe meet the high expectations of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Selected proposals will be submitted to W. M. Keck Foundation by October 14, 2020. Up to 2 grants will be awarded each year, with funding available on January 1, 2021 or later.
LOI and full application reviews will not be provided to applicants.
Awardees must submit a report describing accomplishments at the end of the 2-year funding period.
Funds can be carried forward for a third year, but funds not used by the end of the 3rd year will be returned to the Foundation.
Please direct questions to Dion Baybridge at DBaybridge@mednet.ucla.edu
The Letter of Intent should include the following 2 items assembled into a single PDF (please use Ariel 11 font for the LOI text with 0.5-inch margins):
Full applications can be submitted only by applicants invited by the LOI review committee to submit a full application.
Full applications should include the following 6 items assembled into a single PDF (please use Ariel 11 font for application text with 0.5-inch page margins):
The PDF containing these 6 items can be uploaded here by September 14, 2020. Invitations to submit will be released July 31, 2020.