We are committed to accelerating access to health for people everywhere, while sparking curiosity in the next generation of scientists. We accomplish this by making philanthropic investments in the areas of scientific research and science education. Simultaneously, we harness the diverse talents and expertise of our employees, allowing them to give back to the communities in which they live and work through SPARK™, our global skills-based volunteer program. In addition, we are turning scientific inquisitiveness into action via Curiosity Labs™ and the Curiosity Cube®, our proprietary programs that bring hands-on, interactive science lessons to students around the world.
Our company was founded on the principle of improving the quality of life through science. But we don’t just want to see that happen; we work to make it happen, with an ongoing commitment to three community engagement initiatives — philanthropic investments, employee volunteerism and a fair and safe workplace — that benefit our employees, customers and community.
Our Life Science employees are as proud of and committed to their work as they are to making a difference in their communities. This passion and purpose led to SPARK™— a first-of-its-kind, large-scale employee volunteer program that unites employees around the globe in a shared commitment to give back through skills-based and non-skills-based volunteering. Our Employee-led SPARK™ Activities Include
Our flagship program that educates and inspires students around the globe through hands-on, interactive science lessons led by our Life Science employees.
A 22x10-foot retrofitted shipping container that has been transformed into a mobile science lab, featuring interactive, hands-on science experiments led by our Life Science employees.
An educational experience led by employees, who invite students to their local Life Science site, including an educational tour, hands-on experiments and thought-provoking discussions about science and careers in science.
Small-scale, interactive experiments headed by our employees and held during scheduled, school-wide or community events. Through SPARK, more than 9,700 employees have volunteered nearly 90,000 hours of their time — hosting thousands of events in 36 countries and engaging almost 235,000 young minds.
Figure 1. What employees have to say about SPARK™
Through our Curiosity LabsTM program, trained employee volunteers deliver hands-on, interactive science lessons meant to encourage students to explore, wonder and ask why. We work with teachers to choose lessons that complement and bolster current classroom content. During those lessons, our team guides students through applying scientific principles to real-world concepts and challenges. Even better, we supply all the necessary materials and equipment.
Chemiluminescence: Why Do Glow Sticks Glow? This activity shows students how chemical reactions can emit light and allows them to investigate the effect of temperature on the reaction.
Since 2016, the Curiosity Labs™ program has reached more than 45,000 students in 25 countries. Surveys have indicated that following participation in the program:
We've taken our successful Curiosity Labs™ program beyond the classroom. With the Curiosity Cube® — a 22x10-foot, retrofitted shipping container turned mobile science lab—our employees are sparking curiosity in visitors of all ages through hands-on science lessons. Since 2017, the Curiosity Cube® has journeyed across North America visiting nearly 300 communities and reaching more than 114,500 visitors.
Through carefully chosen partnerships, we're able to use our expertise, experience and monetary investments to make a difference now, and set the stage for the future. Our aim is two-fold: to help today's scientists strive toward innovation and progress through investments in scientific research, while giving the next generation better access to hands-on science education — enabling them to be the problem solvers of the future.
Through multi-dimensional "Signature Partnerships," we make long-term commitments that allow for broader impact, while our "Localized Partnerships" create greater impact in specific communities around the world. We also support several relevant associations and memberships, as well as disaster relief efforts, in times of need or crisis.
Figure 2.Signature Partnerships
We are committed to supporting today's scientists to accelerate access to health in three focus areas:
Figure 3. Research supporting today's scientists
Seeding Labs helps talented scientists in developing countries conduct life-changing research by providing them with laboratory equipment—often more advanced than what has previously been in their labs. Beyond providing equipment donations, we have also worked with Seeding Labs to launch TeleScience.
Our science education efforts aim to inspire the next generation of scientists by investing in:
1. Direct-to-Student Programs led by employees to expose students to science through real-world applications — encouraging them to consider a career in STEM.
2. Teacher Preparation & Professional Development Programs that give more teachers access to tools and techniques needed to educate, excite and prepare students for STEM careers.
3. Partnerships with Science Centers and Museums that inspire millions of children and adults worldwide to make science a bigger part of their lives with groundbreaking technology and concepts from life science.
Figure 4.2023 goal
We’re big fans of Austin, Texas’ Girlstart—an organization focused on increasing interest and engagement in STEM among girls in grades four to eight. We’re also long-time supporters, funding summer camp and after school programs, including new local programs for high need schools. Our partnership has helped expand and scale Girlstart services to new cities in the United States, including Houston, St. Louis, Boston, and Milwaukee.
Our employees donate their time, dollars and skills to a host of causes around the world. We’re proud to join in their efforts. In the U.S., for example, we match employees’ charitable donations dollar for dollar, up to $1,000 per employee per year.
Our people are our most valuable asset, and we place a high priority on fostering a company culture that is inclusive, innovative and collaborative—offering steady opportunities for professional and personal growth. We invest in our employees through training, tuition reimbursement, broad benefit packages and safe workplace initiatives.
Employee inclusion programs support an energetic, collaborative and team-oriented culture — this includes the International Community for employees from a variety of countries, the Rainbow Network for the LGBT community, and the Women at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany network.
Every year we celebrate Global Diversity Days as part of an initiative to bolster awareness of diversity and inclusion within our workforce. Group-wide, employees across five continents participated in the nearly 30 events held.