Merck Foundation Marks International Day of Girls and Women in Science Through Their STEM Program

Business Wire India

  • Merck Foundation launch “MARS Best African Woman Researchers Awards” annually to empower and acknowledge women in science.
  • Merck Foundation empowers African Women in the areas of Science and Technology through providing 650 scholarships to female doctors out of 1470 scholarships.
  • Merck Foundation recently conducted MARS Awards Ceremony with African Union and 11 African Ministers announced MARS Best African Women Researchers and Young African Researchers Awards winners. 
  • Merck Foundation also announced the Call for Applications for Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit – MARS Awards 2023 to empower Women and Youth in STEM in Africa with special focus on scientific research in Women Health and Infertility & Reproductive Health.
Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, marks ‘International Day of Girls and Women in Science 2023’ together with African First Ladies through their Merck Foundation “STEM Program” and “Educating Linda” program.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “We at Merck Foundation mark ‘International Day of Girls and Women in Science 2023’ by supporting and empowering women in the areas of Science and Technology. Even though women have made tremendous participation and progress in career, there is still under-representation of women in these fields. We aim to bridge the gender-inequality gap and enable women to participate equally in the areas of Science and Technology.

We have also launched MARS Awards to appreciate and recognize ‘Best African Women Researchers’ and ‘Best Young African Researcher’. Our aim is to empower women and young African researchers, advance their research capacity and promote their contribution to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).”

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej further emphasized, “In partnership with my dear sisters, African First Ladies, we have been transforming the patient care landscape in Africa by providing medical training to young doctors in many critical medical specialties. Out of the total 1470 scholarships provided, more than 650 scholarships have been provided to female medical graduates. This is close to 45% of the total beneficiaries, which is a great milestone for us.”

Every year, Merck Foundation conducts “Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit- MARS” in partnership with African Governments and African Union Scientific. This year’s MARS will be in partnership with International Federation of Fertility Societies -IFFS, Africa Reproductive Care Society – ARCS, Manipal University and African Union Scientific Technical Research Commission. MARS brings together researchers and policy makers from across Africa to prepare for the road ahead in Africa’s development as an international hub for excellence in scientific innovation and define interventions to empower women and youth through education in general and in STEM in particular.

Merck Foundation also announced the Call for Applications for their prestigious Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit (MARS) Awards 2023.

Watch Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit MARS 2022 Award Ceremony video here:

Merck Foundation strongly believes that Education is one of the most critical areas of women empowerment and serves as the base and key factor in driving an impactful change.

“Together with African First Ladies, Merck Foundation has contributed to the future of 1000’s of girls by providing scholarships to continue their education and providing essential school items, through our “Educating Linda” program in many African countries such as Burundi, Malawi, Ghana, The Gambia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger and more. Merck Foundation has released many inspiring children’s storybooks and songs to support girl education. Moreover, we have announced awards of best Film, Song, Fashion Designs and Media to support girl education,” added Senator Kelej.

Moreover, through their “Our Africa” TV program, Merck Foundation emphasized on the importance supporting girl education through many episodes and has dedicated 3 episodes out of the 15 episodes to this topic. The pan African TV program is conceptualized, produced, directed, and co-hosted by Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation. The TV program has been broadcasted on National TV Stations of Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and soon to be also broadcast in The Gambia, Ghana Kenya, and Botswana.

Watch the one of Episode of “Our Africa by Merck Foundation” TV program on Supporting Girl Education:

Merck Foundation has also released many inspiring songs with African Artists to support girl education.

  1. Watch, share & subscribe to the “Girl Can” song here, sung by two famous singers, Irene and Cwesi from Liberia and Ghana respectively:
  2. Watch, share & subscribe to the “Superwoman” song here, sung by two famous singers, Cwesi and Adina from Ghana respectively:
  3. Watch share & subscribe “Tu Podes Sim” Portuguese song, which means “Yes, You Can” in English by Blaze and Tamyris Moiane, singers from Mozambique in English here: 

Merck Foundation has also introduced and launched interesting storybooks for children to underline the importance of girls’ education and enable them to reach their potential in STEM.

  1. To read Ride into the Future Storybook, pls visit:
  2. To read Educating Linda Storybook, pls visit:

Details for MARS AWARDS 2023

Abstracts are invited from final year PhD students, young investigators involved in research and Medical Doctors in Postgraduate Medical Fellowship program related to either of the following topics:
1) Women Health
2) Infertility and Reproductive Health

Applicants should be primarily based at African Research Institutes and Universities, although collaboration within Africa as well as outside is also welcome.

Last Date of Submission:
Applications can be submitted till 30th June 2023
How to apply:
Apply online here:

Alternatively, Applications and abstracts can be submitted via email to [email protected] along with CV (including Name, Gender, Country, University/Hospital Name, Email address, Mobile Number) and the abstract document as an attachment.

Entries are invited under the below categories:

  • Best African Women Researchers
  • ​Best Young African Researcher

Other Details:

  • All Abstracts will be peer-reviewed.
  • ​The Winners receive a 3-month Research Training scholarship in India.
  • One Best Abstract winner from each category will get an opportunity to present their at the IFFS World Fertility Congress in Athens.

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