Merck Group Innovation Cup 2024 (€20,000 prize)

The Innovation Cup is an initiative for post-graduate students in natural sciences, computer sciences, and business administration to attend a training program near Frankfurt, Germany.

As part of the Innovation Cup, selected applicants join a week-long summer camp, to work together in a highly stimulating environment.

  • Work as part of a team to generate new ideas in the fields: oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmunity, small molecules drug discovery, protein engineering and screening, digitalization.
  • Evaluate your ideas from a technical and business perspective and build a convincing business plan.
  • Learn the essentials about R&D within the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Network with the brightest students from all over the world.
  • Understand how products can be successfully discovered, developed, and brought to market.
  • Get to know Merck and learn about career options.

The Innovation Cup summer camp takes place from July 20-26, 2024, near Frankfurt, Germany. Your travel, accommodation and food expenses are paid for by Merck.


  • Enjoy the innovation experience of a lifetime.
  • The winning team is awarded the Innovation Cup and a shared prize of €20,000.
  • The runner-up receives a shared prize of €5,000 with €3,000 for third place.
  • In the following, options to implement the best business plans will be evaluated. The Cup is also a great opportunity to network and boost your professional development.
  • On the last day of the summer camp, a conference with alumni of previous Innovation Cup editions will be organized. Learn what alumni are doing today and expand your network of top innovators.


  • Open to postgraduate students in the life sciences working towards a PhD in biology, medicine, biotech, bioinformatics, computer science, data science, biochemistry, chemistry, pharmacy, engineering or related fields.
  • Postdoctoral students are also welcome to apply, as are advanced MBA students or recent MBA graduates with an interest in the pharmaceutical business and a background in life sciences.
  • This program is not open to healthcare professionals.

The applications deadline for the 2024 Innovation Cup is January 31, 2024. Applicants are informed about next steps by early March. Selected applicants then have the chance to submit your idea by early April and get selected into a team by early May.

Deadline: January 31, 2024