Emanuel Merck Lectureship

In cooperation with the University of Darmstadt, the Emanuel Merck Lectureship honors scientists for outstanding contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research.

About the Award

The award was jointly established by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and the University of Darmstadt in 1992. It recognizes globally renowned scientists who have made superb contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research and comes with a renumeration of € 30,000. Since 1993 until the present day the award has been granted to 18 eminent scientists from all over the world, from which four have received the Nobel Prize.

With the Emanuel Merck Lectureship, we intend to offer our interested audience from universities, institutes, and companies detailed insights into the forefront of scientific research in the fields of chemical sciences and pharmaceutical research.

Describing the award’s importance, Dr. Ulrich Betz, Vice President of Innovation at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, states: „This prize promotes the scientific exchange with internationally renowned researchers and honors their achievements for humanity. It perfectly fits to us as a science and technology company and to the University of Darmstadt.” 

2024 laureate

Awarded for his pioneering scientific work in the field of "Targeted Protein Degradation". Prof. Crews co-invented the concept of inducing protein degradation by bifunctional small molecules and has contributed significantly to converting this academic idea into clinical reality with key contributions to the development of 25+ bifunctional degrader NCEs in clinical studies. He co-founded Arvinas Inc, a leading biotech company in this field. Prof. Crews extended the concept of proximity-inducing drugs to other posttranslational modifications, with implications for drug discovery, and has founded additional companies. He is known for his excellent lecturing skills and has been nominated as a potential future Nobel laureate.

2022 laureate

Prof. John F. Hartwig was awarded the Emanuel Merck Lectureship for his pioneering scientific work in the field of "Transition Metal Catalysis". His outstanding contributions to the exploration of new catalytic methods have brought the design of molecules and synthetics to a new level – not only in an academic context, but also for the industrial preparation of numerous pharmaceuticals. Hartwig’s major breakthroughs in catalysis enabled him to create a new organic chemistry that is less reliant on functional groups.

2019 Laureate

(北川 進 Kitagawa Susumu, born July 4, 1951) is a Japanese chemist working in the field of coordination chemistry, with specific focus on the chemistry of organic–inorganic hybrid compounds, as well as chemical and physical properties of porous coordination polymers and metal-organic frameworks in particular.[1] He is currently Distinguished Professor at Kyoto University, in the Institute for Integrated Cell–Material Sciences, of which he is co-founder and current director.

2017 Laureate

In 2017 Prof. Phil S. Baran at Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California was honored with the Emanuel Merck Lectureship. He has developed elegant and efficient methods for the chemical synthesis of complex natural substances. Phil Baran is Professor of Chemistry, member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, and Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry.

Previous laureates of the Emanuel Merck Lectureship




2024 Prof. Draig M Crews Yale University
2022 Prof. John F. Hartwig University of California, Berkeley
2019 Prof. Susumu Kitagawa Kyoto University
2018 Prof. Jennifer Doudna University of California, Berkeley
2017 Prof. Phil Baran Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla


Prof. Paul T. Anastas

Yale University, New Haven


Prof. Frances H. Arnold

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena


Prof. Carolyn R. Bertozzi

University of California, Berkeley


Prof. Axel Ullrich

Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried


Prof. Sir Harold W. Kroto

University of Sussex, Brighton


Prof. George M. Whitesides

Harvard University Cambridge


Prof. Samuel J. Danishefsky

Columbia University, New York


Prof. Stuart Schreiber

Harvard University, Cambridge


Prof. Jean-Pierre Changeux

Institut Pasteur, Paris


Prof. Manfred Eigen

MPI Göttingen


Prof. Jean-Marie Lehn

University of Straßburg


Prof. Kenneth Wade

University of Durham


Prof. Albert Eschenmoser

ETH Zürich

View short summaries of the awardees here.