The history of the Helmholtz Fund began in July 1912 at PTB’s forerunner, the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (PTR), in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Its President Emil Warburg called a unique non-profit-making association into being with his appeal for donations. This new association aimed to support science and research. The intention was to attract “outstanding employees” to the PTR, to finance “valuable apparatus” and to support journeys to metrology institutes in other countries. This appeal went out to almost 5000 individuals, companies and organizations and was taken up with great enthusiasm, with Carl von Linde, Max Planck, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and Wilhelm von Siemens being among the first donors.
Today, the Helmholtz Fund is based at PTB in Braunschweig and has more than 40 members. It focusses on scientists and economists in the field of metrology, encouraging them to exchange information and work closely together. The Fund gives awards and other incentives to scientists, PhD students and apprentices for top metrological achievements. One of these awards is the internationally renowned Helmholtz Prize.