2017 Honoree: Seeding Labs

Seeding labs

Primary Area of Impact: Education
Geographic Areas: 27 Countries Around the Globe
Year Founded: 2007
Website: www.seedinglabs.org

Overview

Seeding Labs’ vision is of a generation of scientific problem-solvers in every country on earth, empowered to tackle the most pressing problems facing their communities and the world. Fast-moving disease epidemics, the effects of climate change for food and livelihoods, the urgent need for sustainable sources of energy for economic growth — these are challenges that know no boundaries. They may begin in one small corner of the world but ultimately they spread to affect the globe. The population of problem-solvers tackling these challenges — scientific researchers working in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and beyond — needs to be equally global. In 2001, the Rand Corporation created an index of science and technology capacity and identified 104 “scientifically developing” and “scientifically lagging” countries. Fully 25% of the world’s population lives in just the 80 “lagging” countries. The current Zika virus epidemic demonstrates what happens when these countries on the frontlines of disease lack the scientific workforce with the capacity to diagnose and respond immediately. Their communities cannot wait for US policymakers, philanthropists, and scientists to react in a timely fashion to their concerns. To empower these problem-solvers on the ground, Seeding Labs supports scientists and students at institutions of higher education and research in low- and middle-income countries.

Social Challenge

Seeding Labs’ vision is of a generation of scientific problem-solvers in every country on earth, empowered to tackle the most pressing problems facing their communities and the world.

Fast-moving disease epidemics, the effects of climate change for food and livelihoods, the urgent need for sustainable sources of energy for economic growth — these are challenges that know no boundaries. They may begin in one small corner of the world but ultimately they spread to affect the globe. The population of problem solvers tackling these challenges — scientific researchers working in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and beyond — needs to be equally
global.

Accomplishments

Seeding Labs has equipped teaching and research labs at 47 research institutions and universities in 27 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Last year, at just 6 of these universities, over 5,800 undergraduates used equipment provided by Seeding Labs in their science classes.  At least 23 Ph.D. dissertations and 31 Masters theses have been completed in the last two years using the equipment provided through Instrumental Access. 55% of the Master’s students and 39% of the Ph.D. students were women. – In the last two years, at least 28 researchers have utilized the equipment to make new discoveries. They represent a wide range of topics important to local communities and with implications for the global community. These include reducing aflatoxin contamination in peanut production in Ghana; developing new drugs effective against toxoplasmosis in Cameroon; a metagenomic analysis of microbes in leachate at a major landfill in Kingston, Jamaica; and developing technologies for biogas production in Kenya.