Solicitation Release Date: 03 October 2023
Proposal Concepts Due (Required): 03 November 2023
Proposals Due: 20 December 2023

The Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) is soliciting proposals for Study Programs to be carried out during the 2024 calendar year.

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The goal of the Keck Institute is to develop ideas and concepts that have the potential to revolutionize space science and engineering, especially those that have the potential to impact or create future space missions. The Institute will do this by convening study programs and workshops that bring together leading scientists and engineers from the external research community along with the best engineers and scientists from JPL and the Caltech Campus. We are interested in bringing people together in novel ways on in-depth collaborations that will pursue new scientific and technical directions.

We intend to select and support 4-5 Study Programs for the 2024 calendar year. Submitting a concept proposal is the first step in developing a proposal for a 2024 KISS study.

Study program concepts are solicited in the areas of space engineering, planetary science, remote sensing and earth system science, astrobiology, observational astronomy, and physics from space. We very much encourage proposal concepts from individuals outside the JPL and Caltech communities as well as individuals from JPL and Campus.

The Keck Institute is looking for approaches that would not happen without KISS sponsorship. We are looking for technically oriented studies that significantly advance a field. Proposals for incremental advances are not solicited here.

  • We especially encourage proposal concepts for studies that might involve a partnership in the study program between KISS and another organization. Potential partners could include commercial industry, private sector organizations including foundations, or government organizations. We encourage innovative concepts in this regard.
  • While we strongly encourage proposals to have an external lead, a JPL lead, and a Caltech Campus lead, this is no longer a strict requirement.

We will also consider proposals for 1-2 day symposia that are interdisciplinary in nature and that would highlight the Campus/JPL leadership in a new or strategically important area. If interested in proposing a symposium, please contact Bethany Ehlmann directly at or 626-395-6720.

Your proposal concept should include:

  • 2-page Proposal Concept (see templates): submitted as a pdf

Your final proposal should include:

  • 5-page Proposal with required appendices (see templates): submitted as a pdf
  • Please note: Letters of committment from the 18 participants must be included in the proposal.

NOTE: This proposal concept process does not have a go/no-go decision associated with it as other proposal concept phases do. Do not wait to receive a "go-ahead" before continuing work on your proposal. The proposal concepts merely allow the KISS steering committee to understand the breadth of the proposals coming in, and to help proposal teams develop the best proposals possible.

Proposal Concepts Due (Required): 03 November 2023

Submit a PDF version of your concept via email by the deadline above.

Please continue working on your proposal. While you will be provided with feedback on your proposal from a KISS Steering Committee Member, this is not a go/no-go decision.

Email Your Concept Submission Here

Proposals Due: 20 December 2023

Submit a PDF version of your proposal via email by the deadline above. Your letters of commitment must be in Appendix C.

Email Your Proposal Submission Here

Can foreign nationals be included as core-participants in KISS workshops?
Yes - we welcome the best talent globally available.

When I submit my proposal concept, do my 18 core participants all have to finalized?
No. This list of core participants only needs to be finalized when you submit the full proposal. It is helpful, however, to submit as best a list as possible so that the KISS Steering Committee can give you the best feedback possible on the concept itself.

When will I get notified that my proposal concept got the green light and to go ahead and submit a full proposal?
KISS doesn't have a go/no-go policy for the study program call. We use the one-page proposal concepts to get an idea of what proposals are coming into the Institute.

How long can the proposal be?
The proposal itself can be 5 pages long, and there are some required appendices that have no page limit.

How many core-participants can be included in the proposal?
We will only accept letters of commitment from 18 core-participants. You are welcome to list additional people you would like to suggest as core-participants, but only the top 18 listed will be guaranteed a spot in the study should it be selected.

Are the three Co-Leads included in the limit of 18 core participants we may propose?

Are letters of commitment from core participants in email format acceptable?
Yes. Concatenate all of the letters (regardless of format) and incorporate that into the required proposal appendix.

Are students considered core participants?
Students are generally not considered core participants, and they will not be counted against your limit of core-participants. Students may be nominated (by core-participants) to attend the study. This occurs during the registration process for the study, after the study has been selected for funding.

I am a JPL co-lead, and I understand that KISS cannot provide $ to JPL to participate in the study. How do we go about getting funding to attend the workshop and participate during the study program?
Please contact the Office of the Chief Scientist and Chief Technologist at JPL for their process on how to secure JPL support for a study.

Does KISS pay for all external visitors to travel to and from the Institute for workshops?
No. We have limited travel funds for attendees, this includes professionals as well as students, so we can partially support travel for the few who need it. Preference is given to students, postdocs, young faculty, and young researchers. Those who cost-share with KISS are also given preference.

Does KISS pay labor for external visitors who are core workshop participants?