Competition offers €30,000 to Spin-off companies


The Spin-Off Prize

Top academic journal Nature Research and Multinational biopharmaceutical firm Merck have announced last November established ‘The Spin-Off Prize’. The award aims to showcase and recognise worldwide excellence in the commercialisation of research through the formation of spin-off companies (also known as spin-out companies)

Recently formed spinoff companies founded on research carried out at universities and research institutes worldwide are invited to apply. The applicant companies are then judged by a panel that consists of editorial staff from Nature Research, experts from Merck and their corporate venture arm M ventures, and independent experts. Companies will be marked on five factors that translate original, high-quality scientific research into products and services that address market problems and are well positioned to make a positive impact on society.

The Spinoff Prize will focus on companies commercialising research in four main sectors: Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, Chemicals and Digital Technologies. An initial longlist of highly commended spinoffs will be profiled in a special report published in Nature. The list will be filtered out to a shortlist of spinoffs whom will pitch in front of a live audience at the Curious2020 – Future Insight Conference in Germany, where a winner will be announced and receive a €30,000 cash prize.

Richard Hughes, VP, Publishing, Nature Research Partnerships, said: “The formation of spinoffs by universities drives local and national economic growth, and provides solutions to real-world problems. Yet for the benefits that spinoffs bring, there is currently no widely recognised, international showcase of spinoff excellence, and we would like to build one. We’re delighted to be launching The Spinoff Prize with our trusted partners, Merck and hope entrepreneurs will find participation in the competition to be valuable.”


The spin-off company must be its own separate legal entity which has been registered on or after November 30th, 2016. The spin-off must be operating in one of the five categories (Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, Chemicals and Digital technologies). The spin-off can be based in any country other than those stated in Article 2.5 of the Terms & Conditions.

Further information on deadlines, eligibility criteria and guidelines on how to apply can be found at the Nature Research website.