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Merck Research Grants Program 2020 for early-career Scientists (500,000€ Grant)

Application Deadline: August 31st 2020

As part of their commitment to advance science and technology, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany launched the research grants program (hereinafter the “Research Grant”). The aim of the Research Grant is to create new sustainable partnerships with leading global science and technology players to work on breakthrough science and to generate valuable seeds for future business. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany intends to offer research grants in the following 4 research areas:

1) Drug Discovery

2) Next generation machine learning

3) Bioreactor design for cultured meat

4) Pandemic preparedness / fighting viral infectious disease


  • The Merck research grants program is open to scientists in all career stages who are affiliated with any research-based institution, university or company.
  • Applicants submit their application for the focus topics containing non-confidential information only. You may apply for more than one focus topic.
  • If your application is successful, you will be invited to submit a full proposal and join a deep-dive workshop with the other finalists in 2020.
  • Submissions are accepted from scientists in all countries all over the world.


  • Merck intends to provide research grants in several topic areas of up to 500,000€ per year for up to 3 years with the option of extension or expansion.
  • Drug Discovery Next game-changing molecule or technology to cure cancer or autoimmune
    disease. Up to 500,000€ for 2-3 years.
  • Bioreactor Design for Cultured Meat Next generation scalable bioreactors for industrial scale meat or seafood production. Up to 250,000€ for 3 years.
  • Next Generation Machine Learning A new generation of algorithms inspired by today’s neurosciences and advances in brain research to overcome current limitations in AI. Up to 250,000€ for 3 years.
  • Pandemic preparedness / fighting emerging new viral infectious disease For pre-outbreak technological solutions or for response during outbreaks that could help to fight emerging viral infections. Up to 500,000€ for 3 years.

Application Procedures:

To submit an application, investigators must first register with our online portal. On your first visit, you will need to register (click “register” in the online form) with a valid email address. Your registration link will then be forwarded to this email address. Refer to the FAQ section for details.

Submissions will be accepted until 31 August 2020 23:59 CEST for the Drug discovery, Bioreactor design, Next generation machine learning topics. For the Pandemic preparedness topic, there is no fixed deadline, since applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis so that we are able to provide a quicker response in these challenging times.


The deep-dive workshop for the Drug discovery, Bioreactor design, Next generation machine learning topics will take place November 3rd- 5th, 2020 in Darmstadt, Germany. Finalists will work together with Merck managers and scientists to jointly optimize submitted project proposals. The culmination of the symposia will be the selection of the research grant winners.


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