Curious2024 Hackathon

Tiny Particles, Big Solutions: Solving the Microplastics Puzzle.

How innovative are you?

The Curious2024 Hackathon is a competition running during the Curious2024 – Future Insight™ conference.  

During the 2-day event, participants use their scientific curiosity and creativity working together in teams to develop innovative solutions on the problem of microplastics in our environment. All participants get complimentary access to the entire Curious2024 - Future Insight™ conference and pitch their solution to the jury for the chance to win cash prizes.


How does it work?

  • The hackathon takes place during the Curious2024 - Future Insight™ conference 10-11. July 2024 in Mainz, Germany. 
  • Registration is open to all students and professionals interested in developing solutions for the problem of microplastics in our environment.
  • Registration closed on 3 Jun 2024, 23.59 CET (Central European time). Registration will re-open for conference attendees.
  • Make sure you are able to attend the Curious2024 - Future Insight™ conference in-person. 
  • A committee will select 50 applications who will be invited to join the hackathon. 
  • Selected participants receive complimentary conference tickets to cover their attendance, but need to cover their own travel and accommodation. 
  • The specific topic of the hackathon will be announced at the kickoff event at Curious2024 on 10. July 2024.
  • Teams of up to 5 participants will be formed at the kickoff; note that existing teams may participate but all team members must register separately.
  • The hackathon will include a brainstorming workshop, coaching on how to create an effective pitch, and a pitch session of your solution in front of the jury.
  • The jury will select the winners, based on the judging criteria, after the pitch session.
  • Winners will receive EUR 5,000 for first place, EUR 3,000 for second place, EUR 2,000 for third place.
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany retains the exclusive right to make any press release or any kind of public communication about the competition and the winning teams.
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will not attempt to commercialize any of the submitted solutions.

Who should apply?

  • Students and professionals affiliated with a research institution are invited and must be able to attend in-person.
  • Anyone from around the world may participate, as an individual or in a team.
  • Registration is open to all students and professionals interested in developing solutions for the problem of microplastics in our environment.
  • No prior experience with microplastics is required for participation, though prior experience will help participants better refine ideas and make their pitch.
  • You will learn how to craft a business pitch for an innovative idea.
  • Bring your scientific curiosity and motivation to create sustainable solutions to improve our environment.

This program is not open to healthcare professionals. 


The judging criteria

  • Novelty and creativity
  • Potential technological impact
  • Value proposition
  • Business impact
  • Sustainability of the solution
  • Quality of presentation