Merck has opened applications for the next round of its accelerator programs in Darmstadt, Germany, and Nairobi, Kenya for startups in the fields of healthcare, life science, performance materials and digital healthcare from around the world.

According to Michael Gamber, Head of the Merck Innovation Center: “When we asked for feedback from our current and previous participants, they wanted flexible access to resources outside of the programme of seminars, workshops and expert mentoring we have in place. To provide this, we have set up the Virtual Innovator Academy as a constantly accessible resource hub for all of our Accelerator participants. They also wanted more support in general business and team management, so we have expanded our core training programme accordingly.”

The accelerator has also introduced a new Virtual Innovator Academy, a digital training resource for all Accelerator participants with innovative tools and on-demand training courses, as well as tips and tricks to help founders master their daily challenges.

With the September intake, Merck is also expanding its training programme – startups will now have access to a wider range of tailored courses and workshops, including seminars like “Team Dynamics”.

As in previous rounds, the teams in Nairobi and Darmstadt will have the option to extend their acceleration period via a month-long residency in Silicon Valley. This opportunity allows the startups to test and prove their business model in the United States as well.

The programs in both Darmstadt and Nairobi will start on September 4, 2017, and will end on December 15, 2017. The application period will run until June 26, 2017, via the accelerator website. Owing to the number of highly qualified applications in the last intake, Merck has decided to expand both its Darmstadt, Germany, and Nairobi, Kenya, programs. Each program will take on one more team than in the last cycle; Darmstadt will now have five teams, and Nairobi will take on four.