Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
With the new Displaying Futures Award, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, recognizes entrepreneurial spirit in the field of Performance Materials. The 2016 award focuses on new applications of liquid crystals.

High-flying idea?

Curious to participate?

Do you have a great idea for a new liquid crystal application? It should be something that the world has not yet seen. Are you perhaps dreaming of starting up your own company? If so, then we would like to hear from you!
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany will select the best three teams out of applications from all over the world. Every team will receive up to US$ 50,000 to further explore their idea. Over the course of 12 months, each team will be furthered according to its individual needs, for example in business plan development and prototype building.

What can you expect?

  • Extensive mentorship from our experts
  • Up to US$ 50,000 in cash to further explore your idea
  • Access to proprietary materials and global network from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
  • A special business curriculum in selected areas to support your team at the beginning, the middle and the end of the 12-month period.

What do we expect from you?

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is committed to fully supporting the teams and therefore does not ask for equity or IP rights if a company is formed. However, our company would like to be offered a board seat and the opportunity to invest. We require the winning teams to spend their money according to the submitted proposal. All contracts are simple, transparent and available for all to see.

Who can participate?

Anyone can participate, however we would give preference to PhD candidates/post-docs and senior research scientists.

How can you apply?

During the application from July 4 to August 28, 2016 we will offer an online form to fill in on this website.
  • Provide us with an executive summary of your idea, its technical background as well as the related IP situation.
  • Elaborate the business potential of your idea and introduce your team.
  • Include a short- and long-term milestone plan and briefly describe the expected use of money.
  • Submit your application in English.

What happens when?

The application period opens on July 4, and closes on August 28, 2016. A jury of our experts will select up to ten teams and ideas on the basis of innovativeness, business potential and social impact. The jury will be headed by Chief Executive Officer of Performance Materials Walter Galinat.
Displaying Futures Award - Timeline
zoom in

The winners of the Displaying Futures Award 2016 come from the University of Central Florida, Kent State University and the Eindhoven University of Technology.
The winners of the Displaying Futures Award 2016 come from the University of Central Florida, Kent State University and the Eindhoven University of Technology.
We will invite the selected teams to pitch their idea at our Innovation Center in Darmstadt, Germany. The pitch day for all teams is planned for September/October 2016. Travel costs will be reimbursed for two members of each team (up to US$ 3,000 per team). Out of the pitches, the jury will select up to three winners of the Displaying Futures Award. In addition, all participating teams will be invited to participate in the kick-off bootcamp for the Displaying Futures Award. The latter is scheduled to take place just before the pitch day in Darmstadt, Germany. Beyond the aforementioned support, the three winning teams will be invited in May 2017 for a mid-way pitch and a second bootcamp. At the end of the 12 months, a final event will take place for all teams, including a pitch in front of potential investors.

Get in touch!

Apply for the Displaying Futures Award 2016 between July 4 and August 28, 2016!
The idea submission for the Displaying Futures Award 2016 has ended. We are however always interested in creative ideas! So please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Also stay tuned for the next round of the Displaying Futures Award.


Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
There are two different, unaffiliated companies that use the name MERCK. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates this website, uses the firm name “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany,” in the United States and Canada, and also uses “EMD Serono” in biopharma, “MilliporeSigma” in life science and “EMD Performance Materials” in materials business. The other company, Merck & Co., Inc. holds the rights in the trademark MERCK in the United States and Canada. Merck & Co. is not affiliated with or related to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which owns the MERCK trademark in all other countries of the world.   To reflect such fact and to avoid any confusion, certain logos, terms and business descriptions of the publications on this website have been substituted or modified, such as by referring to “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany” instead of “Merck” standing alone.  Publications on this webpage, therefore, slightly deviate from the otherwise identical versions accessible outside the United States and Canada.


Contact us