The Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (BIF) was established in 1983. Its founders, the holding companies of Boehringer Ingelheim, C.H. Boehringer Sohn and Boehringer Ingelheim International, wanted to create an independent, non-profit organization for the promotion of basic research in biomedicine. From the very beginning, the foundation has focused on supporting the most promising up-and-coming scientists and on stimulating scientific exchange with its fellowship and travel grants programme as well as the International Titisee Conferences.
The foundation's fellowship programmes have become a great success: What started out as a small southern German programme - at the very first meeting of the Board of Trustees in June 1983, only four applicants were awarded a fellowship - has since developed into a vibrant international network of around 1,400 fellows and alumni. Today, the growing group of BIF scholars count among its members distinguished academics in leading research institutions around the world, including about 180 professors, 90 group leaders and five awardees of Germany's most prestigious science prize - the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. An achievement we are proud of.
Sharpening our profile.
In 1988, the foundation's then managing director, Dr Hasso Schroeder, and his team moved from Degerloch near Stuttgart to premises in Stuttgart's Stafflenbergstraße, wehre it stayed for twelve years. In 1990, Dr Hermann Fröhlich stepped into office as the new managing director. Under his aegis, the foundation sharpened its profile: In 1995 we concentrated our long-term fellowship programme on PhDs. Due to a steep increase in applications, we stopped funding postdoctoral fellows as the workload proved to be insurmountable, and larger organizations had begun to support postdocs. For similar reasons, the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Research Award for Postdocs was stopped.
As a result of this process of formation, the foundation is now solidly based on four pillars:
The fellowship programmes for PhDs and MDs, the Travel Grants programme for postdoctoral fellows, PhDs and MDs, and the International Titisee Conferences.
In 2000, the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds moved to Heidesheim near Mainz. In 2012, the foundation moved again, this time to the centre of Mainz. Since 2009, Dr. Claudia Walther is the foundation's managing director. She and her team manage the continual adaptation of BIF's programmes and services while striving to keep the spirit of BIF unchanged.