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 need, 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 a 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: oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmunity, small molecules drug discovery, protein engineering and screening, 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

Method of Application

For More Information,

Visit the Official Webpage

Application Deadline: 31. January 2024.