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Merck Expands Hands-On Science Education with Kick-off of Global Curiosity Cube® Mobile Lab

publication date: May 27, 2022
author/source: Merck


The Curiosity Cube—a retrofitted shipping container that features hands-on science experiments designed to spark student interest in STEM careers—will engage young minds at schools and public spaces.

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has announced its further commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, with the launch of the 2022 Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab in Europe and North America.

“Our Life Science purpose is to positively impact life and health with science. To continue to advance scientific progress, we need to inspire school-age children to start experiencing the possibilities of science at an early age,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. “With our Curiosity Cube®, we're making science interactive and fun, building confidence and capabilities for the next generation of scientists.”

As part of its commitment to scientific and human progress and in support of Merck's sustainability strategy, the Life Science business sector is involved in various programs to promote science education. Education is one of the focus areas of Merck's community engagement. The company sponsors many projects aimed at creating and supporting the next generation of scientists, thus contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal "Quality Education" (goal 4).

Around the world, occupations requiring STEM skills are on the rise. Over the next decade, STEM careers are expected to grow by 25% in Europe1and twice as fast as all careers in the U.S.2 Recognizing that tomorrow’s scientific discoveries begin with curiosity and the urgent need to expand the pipeline of future scientists, Merck is dedicated to inspiring curiosity by increasing access to hands-on science for students around the world.   

The Curiosity Cube—a retrofitted shipping container that features hands-on science experiments designed to spark student interest in STEM careers—will engage young minds at schools and public spaces at more than 200 events in Europe and North America this year, reaching nearly 50,000 students.

Only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women.3 Furthermore, students at lower-resourced schools often lack access to hands-on science learning.

The design of the Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab connects students of all backgrounds, including underrepresented populations in STEM, with high-quality, technology-driven scientific learning experiences. Exposure to hands-on science at an early age is critical to sparking interest in STEM.

This year, students will use robots, digital microscopes and other scientific instruments to learn about the microbiome through three interactive experiments. They will:

Work with a “bacteria robot” to learn what influences the microbiome and identify ways they can have a healthy one.
Look at different types of bacteria that make up the microbiome under a microscope to identify, name and categorize them.
Create their own unique microbiome based on various choices made throughout their day like brushing their teeth or having fruit with breakfast.
All experiments are led by Merck employees, allowing visitors to connect with real-life scientists and learn first-hand about STEM careers.

The first-ever European tour will make approximately 70 stops as it travels across Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. In addition to the Curiosity Cube® that will tour throughout Europe, Merck will host a separate Curiosity Cube® that will travel between its global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany and its facility in Molsheim, France.

In North America, after a two-year pandemic hiatus, the mobile science lab will hold nearly 100 events in communities across Austin, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis and Toronto. The company will host a separate Curiosity Cube® at its company site in St. Louis.

Learn more about the Curiosity Cube® and view the complete 2022 tour schedule.



1. McKinsey Global Institute. “The future of work in Europe.” 10 June 2020.

2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Why computer occupations are behind strong STEM employment growth in the 2019–29 decade.” 19 January 2021.

3. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. “Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).” 2017.



About Merck

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare, and EMD Electronics in electronics.


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