Merck Foundation Calls for Applications for Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS Awards

(L-R): Hon. Sarah Opendi, Minister of State for Mineral Development (Former Health Minister), Republic of Uganda, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, Co-Chairperson of Merck Africa Asia Luminary, Hon. Dr. Obadiah Moyo, Minister of Health and Child Care, Republic of Zimbabwe during a High level Ministerial Panel at 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary 2019 in Accra, Ghana
LUSAKA, Zambia, March 23, 2020/ — Merck Foundation (, the philanthropic arm of Merck Germany plans to conduct the New Edition of their “UNESCO – Merck Africa Research Summit (MARS) 2020” with the aim to Empower Women & Youth in Research on the 13th of October in Lusaka, Zambia on the side of their annual conference Merck Africa Asia Luminary.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of UNESCO-MARS explained “The summit aims to contribute to building research capacity in the African research community, with special focus on ‘The Role of Scientific Research in responding to Cancer and Vaccines Development – Two emerging challenges in Africa’. The end objective is to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM”.

UNESCO-Merck Africa Research Summit – MARS 2020 will have scientific support from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), African Union Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (AU-STRC), Infectious Diseases Institute, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Graduate School, Tata Memorial Centre, India and Merck Foundation.

“We will present the ‘Best Young African Researcher Award’ and the ‘Best African Woman Researcher Award’ to recognize the outstanding contribution of African Female Scientists with the aim to promote women in research and advance their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The summit will be a unique opportunity for the winners of a MARS Research Awards to share their research output and findings. It is also an opportunity for networking and career development. The Summit will provide a platform where they will be able to discuss and enable a conducive environment for better research.

Abstracts are invited from final year African PhD students and young investigators involved in research related to either of the following topics: 1) Cancer (specially in women) & 2) Vaccines Development. The applicants should be primarily based at African Research Institutes and Universities, although collaboration within Africa as well as outside is encouraged.

Last Date of Submission:
Applications can be submitted till 30th of August 2020

How to apply:
Applications can be submitted via email to along with your CV (including Name, Gender, Country, University/Hospital Name, Email address, Mobile Number) and the abstract document as an attachment

Other Details: All Abstracts will be peer reviewed and 15 winners will be eligible for a sponsorship to attend UNESCO MARS Summit. Best three Abstracts will be eligible for Research Awards. Research Awards will be also dedicated for Best African Women Researchers.  

The Merck Foundation (, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth.

Hon. Dr. Thadée NDIKUMANA Minister of Public Health and Fighting against AIDS, Republic of Burundi, Hon. Jappie Chancy Mtuwa Mhango Minister of Health and Population, Republic of Malawi, Hon. Prof. Mahamoud Youssouf KHAYAL Minister of Public Health, Republic of Chad, , Hon. Dr. Hon. Dr. Ahmadou Samateh Minister of Health, Republic of The Gambia, Hon. Sarah Opendi Minister of State for Mineral Development (Former Health Minister), Republic of Uganda, Dr. Rasha Kelej CEO of Merck Foundation Co-Chairperson of Merck Africa Asia Luminary, Hon. Dr. Obadiah Moyo Minister of Health and Child Care, Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah Minister of Health, Republic of Liberia, Dr. Rasha Kamal Head of the Central Administration for International Students Affairs, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Arab Republic of Egypt, Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilufya Minister of Health, Republic of Zambia during a High level Ministerial Panel at 6th Edition of Merck Africa Asia Luminary 2019 in Accra, Ghana

Merck ( is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 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.

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 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.

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