Boston-based Seeding Labs is a nonprofit organization connecting universities and research institutes in developing countries with high-quality lab equipment and supplies provided by a community of donors who channel their surplus equipment to benefit global science. Seeding Labs' flagship program, Instrumental Access, removes barriers to scientific education and discovery and allows scientists to unleash their full potential by accessing affordable equipment. "Life-changing discoveries begin with having the right equipment in the right hands. When scientists in developing countries have the tools to match their talent, they can pursue the science that meets the needs of their communities," says David Qualter, Seeding Labs Vice President of Operations.
For the past two years, Lynden Logistics' International Projects team in Baltimore has been behind the scenes making sure the donated lab equipment is safely transported to the correct destination in places like Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Ecuador, Bangladesh and Tanzania. Most shipments travel in 20-foot containers from the Seeding Labs facility in Bridgewater, MA. Lynden's involvement in the project stemmed from a working relationship with Peter Moe at transportation company MOCO International. Lynden's Dan Gotham reached out to Peter to find out how Lynden could help the effort. This year, Lynden has coordinated six shipments for Seeding Labs with hopes for more in the future.
Lynden's International Operations Manager Barbara Corley describes the air and ocean shipments as 'feel good' projects. "Our biggest challenge," she says, "is finding drayage equipment in the Boston area. Another challenge has been getting the shipments picked up and unloaded at the destinations, and the empty containers back to the carriers. Receivers in remote locations have to work through customs issues before they can take ownership of the cargo."
Once the shipments arrive, they are unpacked and immediately put to use. In March, the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology in Okitipupa, Nigeria, received more than 160 pieces of Instrumental Access equipment from Seeding Labs. The new tools are now providing hands-on educational opportunities to the 1,850 students who use their labs each year. Tools donated to Seeding Labs are also being used in the study of microbiology for better dental care in India and helping scientists in Uruguay in their quest to stop parasitic infections.
Since the beginning of Instrumental Access, Seeding Labs has completed 128 shipments of equipment and supplies to 98 universities and research institutions in 38 developing countries worldwide. These shipments distributed 333 tons of lab equipment from more than 200 generous donors and would cost an estimated $44 million to replace.
"Seeding Labs is doing great work around the world," Barbara says. "It's rewarding to follow where the donated lab equipment is going and then see it being used in different countries. It makes all of us at Lynden very happy to help make this good work happen."
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