Future Insight Prize

Stimulating scientific and technological progress in the areas of health, nutrition, and energy.


At the occasion of our 350th anniversary, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany launched the Future Insight prize to stimulate innovative solutions to solve some of humanities greatest problems and to realize the dreams for a better tomorrow in the areas of health, nutrition and energy. The Future Insight prize will put the vision for ambitious dream products of global importance for humankind into the world and will trigger curiosity and creativity worldwide on how to make this vision a reality. We intend to give out up to EUR 1,000,000 annually for 35 years to incentivize people whose work has enabled significant progress towards making this vision a reality via discovering new ground-breaking science or via development of enabling technologies.

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Creating the vision for ambitious dream products of global importance for humankind.

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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.

Dr. Stefan Oschmann

Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

We can make it happen

The Future Insight prize puts the vision for ambitious dream products of global importance for humankind into the world and triggers curiosity and creativity on how to make these visions a reality.

The prize will be awarded annually from 2019 onwards to honor outstanding achievements in science & technology towards a ground‐breaking innovation important for the future of humanity in the areas:

  • Health - Pandemic Protection (2019)
  • Health - Multi Drug Resistance (2020)
  • Nutrition - Food Generator (2021)
  • Energy - CO2 Conversion (2022)

Selection Process

  • A jury comprising experts from all over the world will identify suitable candidates for the Future Insight prize
  • Additionally, proposals for Future Insight Prize candidates can be sent to the jury (no self-nominations)
  • Amongst all of these candidates, the jury will select the top individuals whom are invited to submit a formal application for the prize
  • The jury will evaluate these applications and select the winner of the Future Insight prize
  • The winner will be publicly announced and present their research at the Future Insight conference

Prof. Stephan Sieber’s (b. 1976) research field is bioorganic chemistry. The aim of his work is to develop new drugs for multidrug-resistant bacteria. His research is based on methods which combine synthetic chemistry, functional proteomics, cell biology and mass spectrometry. This approach enables the discovery of new active substances, some of which are currently being optimized for medical application.


“The Future Insight Prize is great because it sets a grand challenge and seeks a solution to societies greatest future needs.” Prof. Dr. Daniel Nocera - Harvard University

"The Future Insight Prize is great because it will foster scientific innovation in areas critical to humanity's future.“ Professor Martin Jonikas - Princeton University

“The Future Insight Prize in Pandemic Protection is great because it is a clear expression of commitment to society and global health.” Dr. Sir Michael Jacobs – Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

"The Future Insight Prize is great because it shows a 350-year old company is thinking about the next 350 years.” Isha Datar – CEO New Harvest

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The Future Insight Prize builds a network of innovators to enable the dreams for a better tomorrow.

Dr. Ulrich Betz

Vice President Innovation, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Future Insight Prize Inventor and Manager

Future Insight Prize Jury

Jury Member
Affiliation  Jury Member Affiliation   
Angela Belcher Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lolke Sijtsma University of Wageningen  
Benjamin List Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research Máire Connolly National University of Ireland Galway  
Camille Delebecque Afineur Manfred Weck RWTH Aachen  
Carolyn "Bo" Aldige Prevent Cancer Foundation Martin Jonikas Princeton University  
Catherine Havasi  MIT Media Lab Mary Voytek NASA  
Chihaya Adachi Kyushu University Matt Rosseinsky University of Liverpool  
Christina Smolke Stanford University Michael Jacobs Royal Free London NHS  
Christopher Milne Tufts Michael Obersteiner Oxford University  
Clifford P. Kubiak UC San Diego Moritz Helmstädter MPI for Brain Research  
Daniel Bausch London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Murray S. Campbell IBM  
Daniel Nocera Harvard University Nadia Tornieporth Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations  
Daniel Zajfman Weizmann Institute of Science Nancy Cox Vanderbilt University  
David Bloom Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Nicholas Donofrio IBM  
David Solit Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Orla Smith Science / AAAS  
Dean Radin California Institute of Integral Studies Otmar Wiestler Helmholtz Association  
Deborah O‘Neil Novabiotics Pardis Sabeti Broad Institute  
Dieter Spath  National Academy of Science and Engineering, acatech Peidong Yang UC Berkeley  
Don Cleveland UC San Diego Peter Hotez Baylor College of Medicine  
Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich Peter Piot The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine  
Ferdi Schüth Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research Rafi Ahmed  Emory University  
George P. Smith Catholic University of America Robert Huber Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry  
Gerald Haug Leopoldina, German National Academy of Sciences Ron Fouchier Erasmus University  
Gordon J. Freedman Dana-Farber Cancer Insistute Ross Maclean Precision Value & Health  
Hans-Dieter Klenk Institute of Virology, Marburg Rudi Balling University of Luxembourg  
Hans-Joachim Zeiler Creative Therapeutics Rudolf Aebersold ETH Zürich  
Harald Seifert University of Cologne Scott Spangler IBM  
Helmut Schwarz TU Berlin Segenet Kelemu ICIPE, Kenya  
Isha Datar New Harvest Shinichi Akaike NISTEP, Japan  
Jake Yeston AAAS / Science Shyam Sankar Palantir Technologies  
James E. Crowe Vanderbilt Medical Cent Stefan Oschmann Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany  
James Le Duc University of Texas Medical Branch Stephan Sieber Technical University Munich  
Jef Boeke NYU Langone Health Stewart Cole École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  
Jean-Marie Lehn  College de France  Subhanu Saxena Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  
Jeremy Nicholson Murdoch University Thomas Südhof Stanford University  
Joachim Frank Columbia University Tim Appenzeller  Science / AAAS  
Joao Monteiro Nature Medicine Toby Bloom New York Genome Center  
John Gyapong University of Health & Allied Sciences Tom Knight Ginkgo Bioworks  
Kara Bren University of Rochester Ulrich Betz Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany  
Kenneth Drazan Arsenal Bioscience Ulrich Wiesner Cornell University  
Kurt Wüthrich Scripps Research Institute Yang Shao-Horn Massachusetts Institute of Technology  
Linda Hill Harvard Business School      

All winners of the Future Insight Prize after being awarded are invited to join the jury for subsequent years.



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