You are currently viewing Apply for Merck Research Grant Program 2024

Apply for Merck Research Grant Program 2024

The Merck is offering a series of research grants to stimulate innovative research in challenging areas of future importance.

The Merck research grants program is open to scientists in all career stages who are affiliated with any research-based institution, university or company.

Grant Topics
  • Molecular Glue Degraders & Other Protein-Protein-Interaction Stabilizers
    • In this category, they are providing financial support for research initiatives that concentrate on pioneering novel approaches for the screening & discovery of molecular glues. 
    • Molecular glues are small molecules capable of inducing proximity between a target protein and an effector protein inside the cells, hence relying on the effector protein to elicit target protein function. Molecular glues have been discovered, that lead to degradation (e.g. IMIDs), inhibition (e.g. cyclosporin A) or activation of the target protein (asukamycin).
    • Targeting proteins via the molecular glue mechanism holds the promise to tackle non-ligandable proteins that are considered “non-druggable”. However, the identification of degraders or other proximity inducers utilizing this mode of action for specific proteins has historically been largely serendipitous.
  • Augmented Reality Digital Twin
    • They are seeking research proposals to build an interactive Augmented Reality Digital Twin for their automated system’s monitoring and control. 
    • In an autonomous laboratory, drug discovery integrates the molecular design, chemical synthesis and biological assays and testing into one continuous process: design-make-test-analyse or DMTA. AI, automations and robotics will greatly accelerate the DMTA cycle for faster drug discoveries. 
    • They have designed an autonomous laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment, advanced software tools and novel techniques. This automated system will require an advanced monitoring system.
    • The submitted proposals should:
      • include a proof of concept (Technology Readiness Level 3) and describe the innovativeness of the proposal and the potential impact on Merck
      • include proposal for interactive digital twin for dashboarding and/or instrument control using AR technologies
      • include descriptions of 3D graphics and/or advanced visualization tools
  • AI-Driven Drug Discovery
    • They are inviting research proposals for hit or lead optimization that you would like to advance using their AIDDISON drug discovery software. 
    • They have designed AIDDISON drug discovery software to combine artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and computer-aided drug design (CADD) methods to act as a valuable toolkit for medicinal chemistry needs. As a unified platform for efficient and effective ligand-based and structure-based drug design, it integrates all the facets for virtual screening and supports methods for lead discovery and lead optimization.
    • Submitted proposals should:
      • include a description of your hit or lead optimization project
      • be suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
    • They are offering up to 3 grants comprising AIDDISON software licenses for one year with potential further collaboration. This research grant includes extensive interaction with their scientists and training on the AIDDISON drug discovery software for teams selected to participate in the deep dive session.
Funding Information
  • Grants of up to 500,000 € per year for up to 3 years have been made available. In 2024, grants are available in the area as further specified below.
    • Discovery strategies for molecular glue degraders and other protein-protein-interaction stabilizers – 1 grant comprising up to 100,000 €/year for up to 3 years with potential further collaboration
    • Augmented Reality Digital Twin – 1 grant comprising up to 120,000 €/year for 1 year with potential further collaboration
    • AI-Driven Drug Discovery – up to 3 grants comprising AIDDISON software licenses for one year with potential further collaboration
Program Stages
  • 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.
  • 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 Merck managers and scientists to jointly optimize submitted project proposals. All teams reaching this stage will be informed in October. The deep-dive workshops are currently scheduled to take place in November 2024. 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, Merck enters into bilateral collaboration agreements with the winning recipients. Their collaborative Research Grants are a unique opportunity for researchers who are interested in working with Merck‘s scientists and receive guidance from industry. During the Research Grant funding period, there will therefore be regular meetings with Merck scientists. 
Eligibility Criteria
  • The Event is open and offered only to individuals age eighteen (18) or older at time of application and/or such an individual representing a team of individuals. In case applications are received from Healthcare Professionals and/or representatives of Healthcare Organizations, in addition to these Terms And Conditions, the applicable Healthcare Compliance principles, rules and regulations will be followed.
  • The Event is not open to:
    • employees of Sponsor and its affiliates; 
    • any employee whose employer’s guidelines or regulations do not allow entry in the Event or acceptance of the Grant; 
    • individuals whose participation in the Event may be impacted by applicable sanctions from time to time. The Event is void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor reserves the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the Event for any person who fails to comply with these Terms and Conditions. It is the responsibility of the Candidate to ensure that he/she is legally eligible to participate in the Event and to accept the award. In case Candidate applies for a team of individuals, such Candidate represents and warrants that Candidate as representative of the team has obtained consent of all individuals of the team to these Terms and Conditions.

For more information, visit Merck.

Leave a Reply