Merck Expands Hands-on Science Education with the Launch of the Global Curiosity Cube® Mobile Lab

Courtesy of Merck

Merck, a German multinational science and technology company, today announced its further commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, with the launch of the laboratory Curiosity Cube® 2022 mobile scientist in Europe and North America.

“Our goal in life sciences is to positively impact life and health through science. To continue advancing scientific progress, we must inspire school-aged children to discover the possibilities of science from an early age,” said Matthias Heinzel, Merck Board Member and CEO of Life Science. “With our Curiosity Cube®, we are making science interactive and fun, building confidence and capabilities of 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 area is involved in various programs to promote science education. Education is one of the priority areas of Merck’s community engagement. The company sponsors numerous projects aimed at creating and supporting the next generation of scientists, thereby 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 Europe1 and twice as fast as all careers in the US2 Recognizing that tomorrow’s scientific discoveries begin with curiosity and the urgent need to expand the pipeline future scientists, Merck is dedicated to inspiring curiosity by increasing access to hands-on science for students around the world.

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

Only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women3. Additionally, students in schools with limited resources often do not have access to hands-on science learning.

The Curiosity Cube® mobile science lab design connects students from all backgrounds, including populations underrepresented in STEM, to high-quality, technology-driven science learning experiences. Exposure to practical science at an early age is key 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 to have a healthy one.
– Observe under the microscope different types of bacteria that make up the microbiome to identify, name and categorize them.
– Create their own unique microbiome based on various choices made throughout the day, such as brushing their teeth or having fruit for breakfast.
– All experiments are led by Merck employees, allowing visitors to connect with real scientists and learn first-hand about STEM careers.

The first-ever European tour will make around 70 stops across Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK In addition to the Curiosity Cube® which will tour throughout Europe, Merck will host a separate Curiosity Cube® which will travel between its global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, and its factory in Molsheim, France.

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

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