Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Announces Future Insight Prize of up to € 1 Million for Groundbreaking Scientific Work

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, today announced a new research prize. The company will award the “Future Insight Prize” of up to € 1 million annually for the next 35 years.

17 Jul 2018 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • First prize to be awarded 2019 for work on a visionary product to protect humanity from newly emerging viral diseases
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, committed to “Future Insight Prize” for the next 35 years
  • Announcement made at “Curious2018 – Future Insight” conference premiere

Darmstadt, Germany, July 17, 2018 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the vibrant science and technology company, today announced a new research prize. The company will award the “Future Insight Prize” of up to € 1 million annually for the next 35 years. The prize will be presented to researchers who will make outstanding contributions to enable innovations important for the future of humanity in the categories of health, nutrition and energy.

“As we are discussing the future of science and technology at the ‘Curious2018 – Future Insight’ conference, this is the right place to announce the ‘Future Insight Prize’. With this award we aim to stimulate groundbreaking science and innovative development of key products or technologies, to bring meaningful visions to life for the benefit of humanity,” Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, said when he announced the prize today at the conference. This event in Darmstadt, of which Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the main sponsor, is currently being held for the first time and brings together globally renowned scientists, among them five Nobel Price laureates.

The new award will be issued for the first time at next year’s “Curious2019” conference. It will relate to the health category and a ‘Pandemic Protector’ – a visionary dream product enabling an accelerated protection against newly emerging pathogens. The ‘Pandemic Protector’ should make it possible to swiftly analyze emerging pathogens, to generate an agent for disease treatment or prevention, and in doing so protect humanity against the outbreak of a new, global plague.

A scouting team will monitor scientific activity worldwide with a view to selecting potential candidates for the award. Experts in the relevant fields are likewise free to propose candidates of their own. The chosen scientists will be approached and asked to submit their entry to a jury of distinguished scientists and managers, drawn both from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and beyond. The winner of the respective award should use the prize for further research on the specific topic.

The Future Insight Prize for the years thereafter will be awarded for the following three topics:

  • 2020: Multi-Drug Resistance Breaker - solving the problem of antibacterial resistance to multiple antibacterials (category health)
  • 2021: Food Generator – Technology to help feed the world’s growing population (category nutrition)
  • 2022: CO2-to-Fuel Converter – Generating fuel by photocatalytic conversion of atmospheric CO2 (category energy)

All future research projects receiving this award should contribute to laying the scientific and technological basis for the later realization of so-called “dream products”, in the first year the ‘Pandemic Protector’. The products envisaged are visionary products which the prize will catalyze to become reality. The same principle applies to the dream products Multi-Drug Resistance Breaker, Food Generator and CO2-to-Fuel Converter. None of the awarded projects is meant to be in connection to or to directly contribute to any of the three business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. More information and illustrations are available at

The science conference “Curious2018 – Future Insight” (, where the award was announced today, brings together some of the world’s most accomplished scientists. The new conference is one highlight of the 350th  anniversary year of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. More than 35 internationally renowned scientists – including five Nobel Prize laureates – are presenting their work and discussing the future of science and technology from July 16 to July 18, 2018 in Darmstadt, Germany. The speakers are presenting to an audience of around 1,000 guests from all over the world topics oriented to the main focal areas of the three Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, business sectors (Healthcare “Healthy Lives – new breakthrough therapies and diagnostics”, Life Science “Life Reimagined – synthetic biology and beyond”, and Performance Materials “Materials & Solutions – chemistry and beyond”). Other conference topics address questions regarding digitalization (“Vibrant Digital – the power of in silico”) and new forms of collaboration (“Bright Future – new ways of working and collaborating”).

“Our company is fighting cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious diseases. With our Life Science products we are helping other companies to conduct research even more quickly and efficiently. And we are developing high-tech materials with which autonomous driving or foldable displays are becoming reality. We are doing all this in close partnership with top researchers around the globe. Therefore, we are very much enjoying this huge celebration at ‘Curious2018 – Future Insight’ conference of research with the best of the best,” is how Stefan Oschmann described the concept behind this new conference.


For more information, please contact Gangolf Schrimpf

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 53,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2017, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 15.3 billion in 66 countries.

Founded in 1668, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, holds the global rights to the „Merck” name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.

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