BWF was founded in 1955 as the corporate foundation of the pharmaceutical firm Burroughs Wellcome Co. In 1993, a generous gift from the Wellcome Trust in the United Kingdom, enabled BWF to become fully independent from the company, which was acquired by Glaxo in 1995. BWF has no affiliation with any corporation.
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. Within this broad mission, BWF has two primary goals:
To help scientists early in their careers develop as independent investigators
To advance fields in the basic biomedical sciences that are undervalued or in need of particular encouragement