2022 Research Grants
Stimulating innovative research
In 2022, we are offering a series of research grants to stimulate innovative research in challenging areas of future importance. Grants of up to 500,000 € per year for up to 3 years are available in the areas as further specified below.
- Drug discovery - 3 grants comprising up to 500,000 €/year for 3 years with the option of extension.
- AI for predictive diagnostics & therapeutic target discovery - grant comprising between 100,000 - 300,000 $/year for 2 years with the option of extension
- Chemistry in the cloud – Rapid synthesis through automation - 1 grant comprising 100,000 €/year for 3 years
- Innovation within green chemistry - 1 grant comprising 100,000 € for 1 year with potential further collaboration
- Sustainability in healthcare R&D - 1 grant comprising 100,000 € for 1 year
About the 2022 research grants
The 2022 Research Grants program is open to scientists in all career stages who are affiliated with any research-based institution, university or company.
In the first stage of the Research Grants applications process, applicants submit their application containing non-confidential information only. You may apply for more than one grant or submit your application for more than one category. If your application is successful, you are invited to submit a full proposal under confidentiality and join a deep-dive workshop. All applicants are informed about the decision of the selection committee.
Submission deadline is 31 August 2022.
Deep dive Workshops
The second stage of the Research Grant process is a collaborative step, the deep-dive workshop. Finalists submit their full proposals and then work together with our managers and scientists to jointly optimize submitted project proposals. All teams reaching this stage will be informed in October. The deep-dive workshops will take place in November 2022. The culmination of the deep-dive workshops will be the selection of the research grant winners.
Research Grant Funding
The third stage of the Research Grants process is the Research Grant funding phase. To enable pay-out and project start, we enter into bilateral collaboration agreements with the winning recipients. Our collaborative Research Grants are a unique opportunity for researchers who are interested in working with our scientists and receive guidance from industry. During the Research Grant funging period, there will therefore be regular meetings with our scientists.
We are launching a call for research proposals advancing the field of drug discovery and are looking for proposals for projects to identify and characterize the next game-changing molecule to help cure cancer, autoimmune/neuroinflammatory disease or infertility. In addition, approaches interfering with the molecular hallmarks of aging to promote healthy longevity are of interest.
Your proposal should address one of the following:
- Cancer/Autoimmune Targets/Infertility: Which molecular targets or pathophysiological pathways have tremendous untapped potential to deliver the next big therapeutic breakthrough?
- Enabling Technologies: What are new enabling technologies for drug discovery? How can molecular strategies for tissue-targeting and tissue-sparing look like?
- Translation: How can translation from and predictivity of preclinical models to the clinical situation be enhanced and how can quantitative methods enable this?
- Senescence and Anti-Aging: How can our evolving understanding of senescence and age-related changes be translated into new drug discovery approaches for cancer, autoimmunity, neuroinflammation, infertility, pandemic preparedness and anti-aging?
AI for Predictive Diagnostics & Therapeutic Target Discovery
We are seeking research proposals that can substantially advance Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning mediated predictive diagnostics and drug target discovery with the goal of developing tools to augment current approaches.
Your proposal should address one of the following technologies:
- Molecular detections: Rapid image-based histopathology and cytogenetics prediction, particularly for molecular detections
- Molecular diagnostics: Multiparameter molecular diagnostic tools for disease diagnosis and progression prediction
- Phenotypic profiling: AI enabled phenotypic profiling
- Drug Target and Biomarker discovery: Automation technologies combined with AI tools to uncover complex biomarker signatures and novel drug target discovery
- Data curation: Creative solutions to curate and qualify annotated data sets that is also compliant in data privacy concerns for the above AI/ML applications (e.g. intersection with Blockchain technology)
Chemistry in the cloud – Rapid synthesis through automation
Chemistry has become richer and more complex over the last years. Chemical experiments scale exponentially with the number of variables like reactants, conditions and compound diversity. At the same time chemists must restrict their search spaces dramatically while synthesizing even more complicated molecules. This usually leads to longer research and development cycles and limits innovation in material science or pharmaceutical drug discovery. How can we speed up this fundamental building block of scientific innovation?
Predictive and computational methods, generative models, robotics. Many incredible recent advances in digital tools combining chemistry and data could help to solve this problem.
Submitted proposals should target the question how these technologies change the future of the chemical lab and increase efficiency through automation.
Sustainability in HealthCare R&D
We are seeking proposals along the pharmaceutical R&D value chain that can tangibly improve sustainability aspects in R&D. The proposals should address the following search scope and suggest a way forward.
Proposals should be relevant to our healthcare business and may address:
- Development / application of a design for sustainability/sustainability scorecard, e.g. Green Chemistry
- Systematic approaches scoring the availability and adequacy of treatments for the purpose of prioritization of R&D projects
- Innovative trial design concepts, decentralized trials/decarbonization of clinical trials, clinical trial excellence; transparency and data sharing
- Animal welfare, contributing to the reduction, replacement, refinement and/or responsible use of animals
- Proof of concept research towards small-batch manufacturing
- Development of sustainability KPIs for healthcare R&D
Innovation within Green Chemistry
Science and technology are at the heart of everything we do, driving innovations that enable us to contribute to a sustainable future. In this endeavor, we are seeking research proposals in the field of green chemistry. Progress is currently made e.g in the field of catalysts, prevention of waste and emissions, renewable feed stocks, use of AI for the design for reactions with more efficient synthesis. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is a science-driven organization and conducts its business in healthcare, life science and electronics. Your proposal should find an application in one of our three sectors.
Your proposal should include the following:
- proof of concept (Technology Readiness Level 3)
- description of the innovativeness of the proposal and the potential impact on Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
- application in one of our three sectors.