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Vaisala's origins date back to the 1930s when Professor Vilho V?is?l?, Vaisala's founder and long-time managing director, invented some of the operating principles of a radiosonde. The company was established in 1936 in Finland, and the first radiosondes were manufactured in the basement of a residential building in the center of Helsinki. From a modest start, the company evolved to become a world leader in many measurement fields. 

Nowadays Vaisala employs approximately 1,600 people and exports 98% of its production to over 150 countries. Curiosity, the desire to meet challenges and an extraordinary ability to innovate are at Vaisala's core, both past and present.

The Professor Vilho V?is?l? Award for an Outstanding Research Paper on Instruments and Methods of Observation was established in 1985.

A second Professor Vilho V?is?l? Award for the Development and Implementation of Instruments and Methods of Observation in Developing Countries was established in 2004.

Both awards are granted biannually. They are administered by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and they carry a medal, diploma and a cash prize of US$ 10,000. The award ceremony shall normally take place during the conjoint WMO Technical Conference on Meteorological and Environmental Instruments and Methods of Observation (TECO).

The first Professor Vilho V?is?l? Award presentation ceremony took place in 1986 at the Vaisala headquarters in Vantaa. The presentation of the very first award coincided with the 50th anniversary of the founding of Vaisala Oy. Since 1986, the call for papers eligible for the Professor Vilho V?is?l? Award has been made annually to the permanent representatives of the WMO in each country.

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