Release date: 16 January 2020
Letter of Intent due date: 14 February 2020 (noon)
Proposal due date: 01 April 2020 (noon)

The Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) is soliciting follow-on technical development proposals from Caltech Campus faculty who have been participants in previous KISS Study Programs.

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The goal of the Keck Institute is to develop new space science and engineering ideas and concepts. KISS will provide seed funding for one selected proposal to advance technical development in promising areas identified by previous KISS study programs.  Technical development work can include, but is not limited to:

  • Technology development
  • Development of prototypes
  • Laboratory work
  • Modeling
  • Simulations and computation, and
  • Observations and data analysis.

This proposal can include detailed scientific and engineering research aimed at demonstrating new technical approaches.

Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation must have a Caltech Campus Principal Investigator (PI).

The total funding resource for the successful proposal under this call is approximately $200k.  The period of performance for this technical funding is two years.

Proposals for Technical Development support can be in any format, but are required to provide the information outlined below in “Part 1: Program Description and Rationale” and are limited to five pages in length. Proposals must also include a budget and schedule as outlined below in “Part 2: Schedule and Budget.” Proposers may provide additional material outside the formal proposal in an appendix, although reading the additional material is at the discretion of the review team.

Letter of Intent – Due 14 February 2020 (noon)

A one-page letter of intent to propose is required by 14 February 2020 (noon). The letter should include:

  • a brief description of the technical work to be proposed
  • associated KISS study that generated the idea, and
  • a list of probable investigators and their organizations.
Submit Letter of Intent

Proposals Due: 01 April 2020 (noon)

Cover Page:

  • Name of the Technical Development Proposal
  • Name of the KISS study area for which the proposal is being submitted
  • Name of the Campus PI with e-mail and telephone contact information
  • Names of Co-Is with e-mail and telephone contact information

Part 1: Program Description and Rationale (5-page limit)

  • Summary of the goals of the technical development proposal
  • Description of how the proposal will impact the way that future space science and engineering are carried out
  • Description of the technical development efforts
  • If applicable, descriptive summary of how the technical development work will leverage (or be coordinated with) complementary work at JPL or other institutions
  • Description of opportunities for early career members of the community to participate (including involvement of Caltech graduate students and postdoctoral scholars).

We particularly encourage active participation of Caltech graduate students and postdocs in the technical development programs. Please be specific in describing participation of these individuals, including whether or not the proposed technical work will be part of a student’s thesis research.

*** It is understood that additional material may be valuable to the reviewers. As such, please feel free to attach supplemental information deemed necessary with your proposal. However, all critical information must be included in the 5-page main-body of the proposal text.***

Part 2: Schedule and Budget (not included in 5-page limit)


  • If there is more than one technical task defined in the proposal, each technical task must have its own schedule with identified milestones
  • Include a mid-year project review
  • Include one-page progress reports every March 1 (or earliest workday that follows)
  • Include a final report at the completion of period of performance.


  • Prepare your budget in direct cost, i.e. there will be no overhead as this will be deducted prior to your receipt of funds.
  • Colleagues from JPL (and other organizations) can participate as consultants/advisors, or can provide a brief paragraph that describes linkages/proposed work at their organization that complement the Campus work proposed. For example, JPLers can collaborate based on ongoing work, proposed R&TDs (spontaneous, topical or strategic) or other proposed funding, or as advisors.
  • Small subcontracts are allowed, but must be fully justified.
  • See Appendix A for an example of the required budget detail.

Submit a PDF version of your proposal by 01 April 2020 (noon) via email to Iryna Chatila (via the SUBMIT PROPOSAL button below) by the deadline above.

Submit Proposal

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 technical development 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. You may also include links to other material that will be read at the discretion of the reviewer.

I am interested in being a JPL co-investigator, and I understand that KISS cannot provide $ to JPL to participate in the proposal. Do I have any options?

There are many ways to participate – you may apply for various JPL research and technology development funds or other funding that would be complementary to this proposal. You may be an advisor for the project.

I am interested in being an external co-investigator. Do I have any options?

Small subcontracts are allowed, but must be fully justified. You can show that your ongoing work or proposed work to another funding agency is complementary to the work proposed here. You may be an advisor for the project.