EIT Health and Merck explore innovations at Curious 2018 Conference

Shaping the global future of science and technology and celebrating Merck’s 350th anniversary

Representatives from feelSpace, mk2 Biotechnologies, Sleepiz, Medical Magnesium and ScintHealth together with Dr. Katharina Ladewig, Managing Director of EIT Health Germany, Christine Neumann, Communication & Public Affairs Manager of EIT Health Germany and Nathalie Virag, Medtronic and Supervisory Board Member of EIT Health

Together with more than 1200 participants, EIT Health took part as one of the exhibitors in the Curious 2018 Conference, organized by Merck KGaA on 16-18 July 2018 in Darmstadt, Germany. Seven German and Swiss healthcare start-ups – Aquarray, mk2 Biotechnologies, FeelSpace, Medical Magnesium, Mindpax, ScintHealth and Sleepiz, who were previously selected via the European Health Catapult or the EIT Health Headstart programmes, joined the exhibition booth of EIT Health to show their innovative healthcare solutions. Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of Health, and Jorge Fernandez Garcia, Director of Innovation of EIT Health, also participated in the event on the first day.

“We need to form new partnerships and this conference offers a great opportunity to do this”, claimed Ulrich Betz, Vice President Innovation of Merck. CEO of Merck, Stefan Oschmann, highlighted the value-driven approach of the company by saying “Our curiosity will go hand in hand with social responsibility and entrepreneurship to create a better future for society”.

Merck, a leading science and technology company and the oldest pharmaceutical company worldwide, celebrates its 350th anniversary in 2018. Under the motto “Exploring the future of science and technology”, Merck put together an amazing programme with extraordinary speakers from different continents.

Besides the five Nobel Prize-winning scientists – Joachim Frank (2017, Chemistry), Fraser Stoddart (2016, Chemistry), Bruce Beutler (2011, Medicine), Harald zur Hausen (2008, Medicine), Jean-Marie Lehn (1987, Chemistry) – further renowned representatives of the scientific and business communities, among others, were present at “Curious2018 – Future Insight” (see agenda here).

Renée Mauborgne from INSEAD explained the Blue Ocean Strategy to show how the organizational transformation from competition to growth is possible by turning challenges into opportunities. Emmanuelle Charpentier from the Max-Planck Institute for Infection Biology mentioned how partnerships contributed to CRISPR-cas9 research.

On 17 July 2018, Merck announced the Future Insight Prize, a new research prize worth of up to € 1 million annually for the next 35 years. The prize will be presented to researchers who will make outstanding contributions to enable innovations important for the future of humanity in the categories of health, nutrition and energy. “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”, said Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck.

Thomas Reiter, a European record holder and astronaut from the European Space Agency, claimed that curiosity is the most powerful driver for human development and explained the space-based infrastructure. Harald zur Hausen from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) described the role of infections in human colon and breast cancers. High-level speakers discussed the role of partnerships and more focused interventions when it comes to pandemic preventions during the Future Insight Prize panel discussion.

With the Darmstadt Science Declaration, Merck invites all participants and other interested persons to contribute to a better future in science.

Altogether, the event brought together an extraordinary group of speakers and participants in a very interesting and innovative format to show that everybody has a role to play when it comes to the future of science and technology and thus to contribute to better conditions for society.

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