Darmstadt, Germany, March 7, 2016 — Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced the launch of SPARK, a global skills-based volunteer program that provides community service opportunities for its network of nearly 19,000 life science employees, with a focus on science and education.
“Merck recognizes the importance of introducing students early on to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to spark their curiosity and inspire a lifelong passion,” said Udit Batra, CEO of Merck’s life science business. “We are committed to inspiring young people to explore science-related careers and ultimately tackle the toughest problems of tomorrow.”
Students introduced to science by age 14 or younger are more likely to pursue careers in relevant fields. Nearly four in five students pursuing careers in STEM fields said that they decided to do so in high school or earlier, according to a recent Harris interactive study in the U.S.
Through SPARK, Merck will partner with non-profit organizations, such as the Swiss Science Center Technorama in Winterhur, Switzerland. Merck will launch its Curiosity Labs program, an inquiry-based, hands-on science curriculum enabling students to engage in experiments used in real-world applications, such as DNA extraction. Merck has a long tradition of supporting various cultural and educational programs around the world and fostering an interest in science.
Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Around 50,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions. In 2014, Merck generated sales of €11.3 billion in 66 countries.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck, Darmstadt, Germany holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma and EMD Performance Materials.