Merck Group Innovation Cup 2024

 Deadline: 31st of January, 2024.

The brightest students from all over the world meet at the company headquarters to learn from professionals, network, develop business plans, and win the 20,000 EUR Innovation Cup.

As a participant in the Innovation Cup, you get a chance to network with top students from around the world, work in teams to develop new innovative ideas for unmet medical needs, and build a business case with support from experienced professionals. The Merck Group is offering shared prizes of €20,000 for the winning team, €5,000 for the runner-up, and €3,000 for third place. Selected top-performing participants could get an offer for permanent employment. And to make things even more interesting, options to implement the best business plans will be evaluated.


  • Applications are from postgraduate students in the life sciences working towards a PhD in biology, medicine, biotech, bioinformatics, computer science, data science, biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacy, engineering, or related fields.
  • Postdoctoral students are also welcome to apply, as are advanced MBA students or recent MBA graduates with an interest in the pharmaceutical business and a background in life sciences.
  • This programme is not open to healthcare professionals.


  • Your travel, accommodation, and food expenses are paid for by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
  • The winning team is awarded the Innovation Cup and a shared prize of €20,000! The runner-up receives a shared prize of €5,000,, with €3,000 for third place.  In the following, options to implement the best business plans will be evaluated.

How it works:

As part of the Innovation Cup, selected applicants join a week-long summer camp to work together in a highly stimulating environment.

  • Work as part of a team to generate new ideas in the fields of oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmunity, small molecules,, drug discovery, protein engineering and screening, and and digitalization.
  • Evaluate your ideas from a technical and business perspective and build a convincing business plan
  • Learn the essentials about R&D within the pharmaceutical industry
  • Network with the brightest students from all over the world
  • Understand how products can be successfully discovered, developed, and brought to market
  • Get to know Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and learn about career options

Click here to apply 

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