The Friedrich Wilhelm Awards are awarded by the Friedrich Wilhelm Foundation of the same name, which was founded in 1865 by the legal predecessor of today's Aachen and Munich investment company. Her central concern is the promotion of research and teaching, the support of students and scientists at RWTH. The name of the foundation goes to the Prussian Crown Prince and later Emperor Friedrich Wilhelm III. back. In 1858 he received a donation of 5,000 thalers from the Aachen and Munich fire insurance company in order to found a polytechnical institute in the Rhine province. This donation formed the basis for the Friedrich Wilhelm Foundation, which was later established and which in turn laid the basis for the RWTH.