And the investments have been paying off; nearly across the board, recipient scientists have been reporting increased staff recruitment, productivity and publications. All of this plays a part in improving future funding opportunities and fostering more growth, eventually building a self-sufficient research community.
To further this goal of an international community, Seeding Labs recently has begun implementing an exchange of intellect in addition to the exchange of equipment. With support from the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, they recently launched a summer fellowship program to bring talented junior faculty from Africa to the United States to train at NIBR labs in Cambridge. Likewise, with support from the genetics department at Harvard Medical School, Seeding Labs just established an ambassador program that gives U.S. graduate students and postdoctoral fellows a chance to travel to Kenya and share their knowledge and skills with their African counterparts.
Seeding Labs also has plans to make the research of the scientists receiving donated supplies available on its website. This would mitigate some of the publication barriers that scientists in developing nations face while also creating a forum to encourage collaboration.
Seeding Labs has been making tremendous progress in gaining national awareness, and they have a solid network of universities, research institutes and biotech companies who have offered up surplus supplies. There’s always room for growth, however, and every bit of equipment can make a difference. So if you happen to have an instrument that’s currently being used as a dust collector or fancy paperweight, you might consider passing it along to someone who can use it to make a difference.
Interested in learning more about Seeding Labs or possibly donating some equipment, money or your time? Visit www.seedinglabs.org.
Nick Zagorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance science writer.