Fostering talent

Read Interview

Interview With Bhavya Vijay VakiL

Bhavya Vijay Vakil, a medical professional from Mumbai, India, knew early on that he wanted to be a doctor. Yet his family could not afford to send him to university. Thanks to financial support from the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Scholarship Program, Bhavya has made his dream come true. Now 26 years old, he works as an anesthesiology resident in Mumbai.

Read more


Why did you want to become a doctor?

I come from a humble background. My father was an engineer but worked as a teacher – that was his passion. My mother is a housewife. Until the eighth grade, I'd never really considered what I wanted to be when I grew up. But then my father died of a heart attack – that day, I knew that I wanted to become a doctor and help people.

How did you achieve your goal?

It was very difficult at first. After my father's death, we had little money and I needed tutoring at school. My mother had no idea how she would pay for it. When I was in tenth grade, my uncle happened to read about Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's scholarship program in the newspaper. That was my window of opportunity – I applied immediately.

... and you were accepted. Do you still remember the moment you heard the good news?

When the company called to tell me I'd won a scholarship, it was one of the most pivotal moments of my life. I'd never dreamed it would actually happen! I was sure I'd messed up the application. Far from it – I’d been accepted! I was unbelievably grateful.

What form of support has Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany provided?

Starting in 2006, the company covered 90% of my tuition at the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. This support lasted for about seven years. There are many local scholarships available in India, but the company's is one of the most extensive. However, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany also expects good performance and continually checks on the progress of scholarship recipients. I had to get good grades in my classes to keep the scholarship, which kept me really motivated. And ultimately, I succeeded!

You are now a medical resident. Do you have new goals?

I am currently working as an anesthesiology resident at a hospital in Mumbai. This comes with a great deal of responsibility, and I have to maintain high levels of concentration at work. I enjoy it a lot and would like to continue in this field of medicine. After finishing my residency, I would like to go to London and apply for the fellowship offered by the Royal College of Anaesthetists. For anesthesiologists, successful completion of this fellowship comes with a lot of cachet. Afterwards, however, I would like to return to Mumbai. It’s my home; it's where my friends and family live. I want to be with them and serve my nation.

A springboard …

… for great dreams: Our Merck India (Mumbai) a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Charitable Trust (MICT) has been providing scholarships to underprivileged students since 2005. These scholarships cover a five- to seven-year period, generally enough for recipients to pay for their tuition fees and study materials. Since the scholarship's launch, 54 recipients have successfully completed their degrees and found good jobs, primarily in the fields of IT and medicine.

“With this scholarship, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is nurturing the future of the nation. We believe that a lack of financial resources should not be a barrier to young talent reaching their full potential and achieving a respectable life. That is why we have made a long-term commitment of financial support to these talented students who are starting a new phase in their education.” Anand NambiarManaging Director of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany in India
275 students

We are currently funding university degrees for 275 students in Mumbai and Goa, India.

Finally going to school – Other projects in India

We procure mica used in the production of effect pigments for the cosmetics industry from Jharkhand, India. Many children and adolescents in this region do not attend school. We are collaborating with the IGEP Foundation to remedy this situation. In Jharkhand, we operate three schools with adjacent nursery schools along with a vocational training center for tailoring and carpentry, which provide services to 500 children and teenagers. At a fourth school, we provide scholarships that enable 200 children access to a basic school education.

China and Ghana: Supporting the health experts of tomorrow

Because young, skilled individuals are key to the future success of entire regions, we are committed to facilitating education in other developing and emerging countries as well. Since 2011, for instance, we've been awarding two-year scholarships to talented students in China who come from an economically disadvantaged background. We are focusing our support particularly on medical and pharmacology students at Fudan University in Shanghai. Fudan University is one of the most renowned academic institutions in China and ranks among the top 100 universities worldwide. To date, 600 students have benefited from our scholarships, with 120 in 2016 alone. Recipients have included PhD fellows and graduates working towards an advanced degree.

Furthermore, in 2016 our Healthcare business in China launched a scholarship program for MBA students enrolled in the National School of Development (NSD) of Beijing University. In Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, we award prizes to outstanding students on an annual basis.

Progress through curiosity

“With the constantly changing kaleidoscope of new issues we encounter and completely new forms of collaboration, we are always searching for inquisitive, capable young people who share our passion for science and technology. We are therefore committed to inspiring children and teenagers to explore the sciences. To this end, we promote a number of educational projects – particularly in the communities near our sites across the globe.” Kai BeckmannExecutive Board member and Chief Administration Officer

Jugend forscht: Three decades of pioneering spirit

“Jugend forscht” is Europe's largest youth science and technology competition. We have been supporting this initiative for more than 30 years. Since 1996, we have also been hosting the state-level competition held in the German Federal State of Hesse, and have hosted the nationals twice. We have been selected to host the nationals again in 2018 and are already looking forward to it. Furthermore, 80% of the Hessian Jugend forscht competitors came from schools with which we partner.

Having fun in the lab

Gilding copper coins, removing rust from iron, isolating pigments from carrots: young students are curious and love to experiment. They have ample opportunity to explore their curiosity in our top-notch Junior Lab, a facility that is perfectly equipped for school classes. In October 2016, we launched a similar learning laboratory for biology known as the “livfe BioLab”. This is an initiative that links classroom lessons with trending topics and modern methods of biological research. We partner with the Technical University (TU) of Darmstadt in the operation of both laboratories.

More than


Since 2008, more than 20,000 students have paid a visit to the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany-TU Darmstadt student chemistry lab, where they've tinkered about and conducted experiments.

Inspiring teachers

Teachers also need inspiration. For many years, we have been supporting more than 60 schools in Darmstadt and Gernsheim by providing class materials and continuing education for teachers. Our efforts here focus on subjects in which we're experts, such as , spectroscopy and lab safety.

When science makes sparks fly

Launched in 2016, our SPARK volunteering program works to bring science to life. It motivates employees across the Life Science business sector to volunteer to share their scientific knowledge with students at schools in 192 cities around the world. To date, around 4,500 employees have provided exciting insights into the world of science in classrooms and at company sites in 36 countries. More than
60,000 pupils have put on lab coats and had fun conducting hands-on experiments.

A technique used to separate mixtures.