Our history

Over 35 years of support for science and research.
It all began with a vision: in 1977, a member of the shareholder family of the company Boehringer Ingelheim, Hubertus Liebrecht (1931 – 1991), established the autonomous, non-profit Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. Upon his death, part of his estate went to the foundation. The intention of our donor, who was a grandson of the company founder Albert Boehringer, was to provide long-term, sustainable support for research in the life sciences and chemistry. In particular, his aim was to promote the research projects of young scientists.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation was – and still is – a public, non-profit organization. It is legally and substantially independent of the company Boehringer Ingelheim. The foundation was set up in Ingelheim on the Rhine, where it is also officially registered; its administration is located in Mainz on the Rhine.

Mainz - and more.
On account of our founder family's close ties to its home region, the University of Mainz has always been one of the foundation's top priorities for support activities. The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation was, for instance, instrumental in establishing the Institute for Human Genetics and the Department of Pathophysiology at the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz. Since 1995, the foundation endows the Boehringer Ingelheim Prize, which has since been awarded to more than 40 young scientists.

The foundation was also one of the first of its kind to give excellent young scientists in Germany the opportunity to set up their own independent research group. Today, we fund young researchers and their independent research groups through our perspective programme "Plus 3" and our exploration grants.

One important milestone in the history of our foundation is the financial support for the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) at the University of Mainz to the tune of 100 million euros, which will be donated over a period of ten years. This donation was in celebration of the company Boehringer Ingelheim’s 125th anniversary in 2010. In 2013, another 50 million euro were donated to the University of Mainz, also over a period of ten years, to strengthen the faculty of biology.

The prestigious Heinrich Wieland Prize constitutes a further significant aspect of our funding programme. This international award has been given annually since 1964 and honours outstanding research on biologically active molecules and systems in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, and physiology as well as their clinical importance. To mark its 50th anniversary in 2014, the prize money has been raised to 100,000 euros. Four of its former recipients have later been awarded with the Nobel Prize.