We recently announced the winners of the 2021 CiteAb Awards and one of the categories that had some of the most heartening entries was the ‘Charitable Supplier of the Year’ award. 

This was a brand new award, which was judged by a panel from philanthropic organisations, and recognised a supplier providing the best support for charitable or ethical initiatives, whether that’s local to the supplier or further afield. 

This year, more than ever before, we have needed the support of our communities. We have seen organisations and individuals work together to support one another and to collectively find ways to cope with a global pandemic, lockdowns and the associated challenges.

We were absolutely thrilled to name MilliporeSigma the CiteAb Charitable Supplier of the Year 2021 – and if you read on you will be sure to agree that they were very worthy winners indeed.  

In nominations made for this award, it became very clear to our judges that MilliporeSigma, the Life Science business of Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany, is committed to accelerating access to health for people everywhere, while sparking curiosity in the next generation. The company accomplishes this through signature and localised partnerships in scientific research and science education around the world. 

In 2020, MilliporeSigma invested more than €2.3 million and donated more than €4 million in product donations to nonprofit partners in communities where the company is active. Simultaneously, it harnesses the diverse expertise of its employees, allowing them to give back to their local communities through SPARK™, the MilliporeSigma global volunteer program. Since 2016, 9,746 employees have volunteered over 89,401 hours through STARK. 

The company runs Curiosity Labs™ and the Curiosity Cube®, it signature science education programmes aimed at turning scientific curiosity into action. The Curiosity Labs™ program empowers employee volunteers to deliver hands-on science lessons to school students inside the classroom. As of 2019, this program had reached 45,584 students in 25 countries. The Curiosity Cube®, a retrofitted shipping container turned mobile science lab, travels around North America bringing students out of the classroom and into the lab for an immersive hands-on STEM experience. Since 2017, the Curiosity Cube® has reached 114,535 students throughout North America, with plans to expand to Europe. 

MilliporeSigma’s Curiosity Cube spark science interest with children

With the Covid-19 pandemic closing schools globally, the team at MilliporeSigma recognised an opportunity to pivot its science education programming to a virtual format, helping parents navigate at-home learning through fun, educational science activities. The Curiosity Labs™ at Home series provided several easy and educational science experiments that could be completed with materials found around the house. Each science experiment came with a video, recipe card and interactive lab report. Since the program launched in 2020, it has garnered more than 11.7 million impressions on social media and more than 2.7 million video views in 132 countries.

Our judges for this category were selected from a range of social enterprise organisations, and between them have a far-reaching and impressive portfolio of civic and community charitable projects they have been involved in. They included Marcelle Speller OBE (Founder and Chair of Brevio), Joshua Hale (British Empire Medal holding Volunteer Coordinator) and Sammy Burt (Backpack Founder and Unseen Trustee). 

All three judges were unanimously impressed with MilliporeSigma’s programme of voluntary and educational activity, and at the way in which the company had adapted to support parents and teachers throughout the pandemic. 

Dr Andrew Chalmers said: “We were amazed to discover that so many companies across the life science reagent sector have really carefully thought out and delivered community programmes – involving a huge range of activities including staff volunteering, education events, fundraising, profile raising of niche research areas and investment in their local communities. 

“This was a really challenging category for our judges, they felt that many companies deserved recognition for the work that they are doing, but MilliporeSigma really did stand out for the huge impact it is achieving. I wish all of the team at MilliporeSigma many congratulations on winning our Charitable Supplier of the Year 2021 award. 

“We hope to return to the nominations made for this award in the next few months and explore some of the other charitable and outreach initiatives that suppliers are involved in – there were far too many fantastic examples submitted for us to only highlight one, and we would love to share the ideas that exist across the sector so that more organisations can consider what they might be able to offer within their own communities.”