The Foundation was created on 1 March 2007. FBK inherits the activities of the Istituto Trentino di Cultura, which was based on the ideas of Bruno Kessler, a long-time member of the local government and founder of the University of Trento. Established by a law of the Autonomous Province of Trento, FBK operates as private entity. It receives strong financial support from the province through yearly budget agreements.
Fondazione Bruno Kessler is charged with keeping the province of Trento in the mainstream of European and international research. It does so by attracting women, men and resources at the forefront of technological development and humanities studies. The foundation is also involved in bringing together natural and human sciences, a sign of recognition of the challenges faced by the knowledge society.