As already mentioned, the battles were different for both employers.

For the Merck-Challenge, Germany was not enough for us: So we went on an international search for talents who could have solutions to the problems in the area of nutrition and food. So we got to the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and to Universities in Austria, which are leading in this area.

Overall, the Merck-Challenge started the qualification phase with 24 registered teams. From these teams, Merck selected its seven favorites and gave them access to the fabrication phase and thus to the final.

Immediately after the qualification phase, the Bootcamp took place at Merck, in which all seven teams took part. Here, mentors Input to Merck’s activities were provided to the finalists in the respective area of solution approaches. They were then assigned permanent mentors from the Merck Innovation Center. Together with these mentors, the teams further developed their solution approaches in order to perfect them for the final event.

Also in the Merck-Challenge, the elaboration phase ends one week before the final event on January 18, 2019. The day of delivery for the final solutions of the teams. Here, too, there were many different solutions that made Merck’s decision more difficult. However, they were only able to make their final decision at the final event, for which the teams had already prepared diligently this week. This was the last opportunity for the teams to present their solution as convincing as possible in order to be among the final winning teams.

The closing event for Merck took place at the Merck Innovation Center and for reasons of confidentiality was a closed event where only the teams and Merck themselves were present. Thus the jury consisted only of Merck representatives , who already acted as mentors for the teams at the boot camp and during the development phase.

Now there were seven pitches to choose from, from which the clients four winning teams. The winners of the Merck Challenge also received prize money of €10,000.

The University of Mainz was placed fourth by the team Innovation Networks. The team won 1.000€ and consisted of Nils Eggert, Jan Gruca, Rebekka Panitz, Johanna Kayser and Viktoriia Voloshan.

The University of Hohenheim made it through the team Future Food to third place. Pia Christ and Larissa Rudolph are behind the clever heads who won 1,500€.

The Wageningen University from the Netherlands with two different teams actually made it to second and first place and thus won the Merck Challenge.

The second placed team was Global Head Turner with Kaavya Raveendran, Varun Dinesh and Athul Sundaresan and won with his solution 2.500€.

The winning team was U Ferment and won 5.000€. Members of this team were Rens van Roekel, Zoe Veldhuizen and Phylyne van Rijs.

In addition to the prize money, the winners also get the chance to realize their solution together with Merck.

With our concept we want to give everyone the chance to develop themselves personally and professionally and promote innovative thinking. Also the winning teams saw the University Battle as an opportunity and used this chance.

“Ekipa is a platform amalgamating gushing ideas and budding business opportunities waiting to unveil. It brings together minds and motivates them to work to achieving a single goal.” (Kaavya Raveendran; Team Global Head Turners – 2 Place).

We would like to congratulate all the winners and at the same time would like to thank all the participants for their efforts and best efforts.  “It was really nice to see al

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