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Burroughs Wellcome Fund


Last profile update: 12/20/2017
Last grant data update: 12/01/2017

At A Glance

Burroughs Wellcome Fund

21 T. W. Alexander Dr., P.O. Box 13901

Research Triangle Park, NC United States 27709-3901

Telephone: (919) 991-5100


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation






Incorporated in 1955 in NY - Silas Burroughs and Henry Wellcome, American pharmacists, recognized that the introduction of "compressed" medicines-pills-in America offered great opportunity for expansion and success abroad. The two men formed their partnership in London in 1880, and their enterprise--known as Burroughs Wellcome and Co.--prospered. After Silas Burroughs died in 1895, Henry Wellcome directed the growth of the company into an international network. He also established the industry's first research laboratories In 1924, Wellcome consolidated all of the company's holdings, both in England and abroad, under a corporate umbrella that he named the Wellcome Foundation Ltd. When he died in 1936, his will called for vesting all of the corporate shares in a new entity--the Wellcome Trust. The trust's charge was to devote all of its income to research in medicine and allied sciences and to the maintenance of research museums and libraries dedicated to these fields In 1955, Sir Henry Dale, one of the trust's original trustees and its chair. for 21 years, and William N. Creasy, president and chair. of Burroughs Wellcome Co.-USA, envisioned a U.S. extension, and so was born the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, which would be supported by the U.S. company. Both men saw the fund as a natural extension of Henry Wellcome's will and its intent, as well as an acknowledgment of his native land and the great success of the American branch of the Wellcome enterprise. In 1993, BWF received from the Wellcome Trust a $400 million gift that altered the fund's very nature. The gift enabled the fund to become a completely independent foundation, with no direct ties to its founding company.

Purpose and Activities

The fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the medical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. Within this broad mission the Fund has two primary goals: 1) To help scientists early in their careers develop as independent investigators and 2) To advance fields in the basic biomedical sciences that are undervalued or in need of particular encouragement. The fund makes grants primarily to degree-granting institutions on behalf of individual researchers, who must be nominated by their institutions.