Instrumental Access:
May 2018 Call for Applications

Please note: this application cycle is now closed.
Seeding Labs seeks applications from universities and research institutes in low- and middle-income countries for Instrumental Access, a program that provides high-quality scientific equipment for research and education at an affordable price.

About Seeding Labs & Instrumental Access

Seeding Labs is a US-based non-governmental organization dedicated to helping scientists make discoveries that improve life and the planet.

Our Instrumental Access program removes a key barrier to research and science teaching by making laboratory equipment available to universities in low- and middle-income countries.

Through Instrumental Access, participants select items to meet their needs from Seeding Labs' inventory of new and used equipment, glassware, and consumables (see types of equipment that may be available here). Selected items are then packed into a 20-foot shipping container and sent to the nearest or most convenient ocean port.

Every shipment is unique, but the fair market value of the items included in our shipments typically falls between $60,000 and $150,000 based on its value on the secondary (used) market. The cost to purchase equivalent items new would usually be up to four times higher.

For more information about shipment size, value, and composition, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Acceptance into Instrumental Access is the beginning of an ongoing relationship with Seeding Labs. Participants are required to periodically submit reports on equipment use and resulting outcomes.

Participants also gain access to the Seeding Labs network of scientists around the world and may be eligible to participate in future Seeding Labs programs.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

In order to apply, you must be all of the following:

  • An academic department (or equivalent sub-unit) at a degree-granting institution of higher education OR a university-affiliated or public research institute that is actively engaged in research training as well as research.
  • Located in a low- or middle-income country (LMIC) as defined by the World Bank.
  • Able and willing to meet all program requirements, including the cost-share/fee (see next section).


  • Countries that are eligible for IBRD lending but high income may apply as upper-middle income countries. In 2018, this applies to to following countries: Antigua and Barbuda; Chile; Palau; Poland; Seychelles; St. Kitts and Nevis; Trinidad and Tobago; Uruguay.
  • Unfortunately, we are not able to accept applications from the following LMICs: Afghanistan, Burma, Central African Republic, Chad, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen.
  • We prefer to partner at the level of the academic department, but applications from other university sub-units (e.g., a central lab facility, a school or college, multiple departments) will be considered for eligibility on a case-by-case basis. If you wish to be considered, please contact us with an explanation of your rationale to obtain pre-approval before applying.

Regarding academic discipline, there are no specific requirements, but your application will not be successful unless your needs for equipment are a good fit for what Seeding Labs can supply. Our inventory includes equipment most appropriate for use in biology and chemistry laboratories.

You can find a list of the types of equipment we typically distribute here and additional information in the FAQ.

If you have any questions about eligibility or would like to discuss your situation in more detail, you are strongly encouraged to contact us

Program Costs

Participation in Instrumental Access is economical, but it is not free. Awardees must pay a fee that is adjusted to the income level of their country (according to World Bank classifications at the time of application):

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2018 Program Fees






Additional costs may be incurred and must be covered by the participating institution.

The program fee covers a portion of the cost of services provided by Seeding Labs. These services include program administration, equipment procurement, quality control and packing, insurance, and ocean freight to the nearest or most convenient ocean port.

In addition to the program fee, awardees should budget for any costs associated with customs clearance, local transportation, and installation/maintenance/use of the equipment; for more information please see the FAQ.

Please note that the program fee is mandatory and Seeding Labs does not have additional funds available to further subsidize this cost. If selected to participate, a commitment to pay the program fee from the university Vice Chancellor, institute Director, or equivalent is required as part of the application process.

If you intend to raise funds from external sources, or if there are other unusual financial circumstances that apply to your situation, please contact us to discuss before taking public action.

Process to Apply & Important Dates

Please note: the application cycle is now closed.

To submit an application, please visit our application portal.

You must use a current version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer when accessing this portal; use of other browsers may cause you to lose your application data. Please see the FAQ if you need assistance navigating the portal.

Applications are typically submitted by a department head, professor, or administrator on behalf of the department or institution. Applications must be submitted in English. The application form includes questions about:

  • Why equipment is needed
  • Existing facilities, personnel, and support environment at the applicant department
  • Specific equipment needs
  • Plans for the coordination, distribution, and sharing of equipment
  • Specific proposals to use equipment for education/training and research

Top-scoring applicants will be invited to participate in an interview with Seeding Labs staff via Skype or teleconference. These interviews must include the primary applicant, department head or equivalent, and the university Vice-Chancellor or equivalent.

The submission deadline for the current application cycle will be:

27 July 2018

Please note that Seeding Labs expects to open another application cycle approximately two months later, running from September 2018 to February 2019.

An independent panel of reviewers will read and score applications. The following factors will be considered as part of the review process:

  1. Applicant's need for equipment to accomplish specific research and education objectives
  2. Applicant’s potential for effective use of requested equipment
  3. Anticipated impact of equipment use
  4. Applicant's ability to work effectively with Seeding Labs

Letters of support from the university’s Vice Chancellor or equivalent and two additional members of the applicant department are also required.

More Information & Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the program and application process are available here. All applicants are strongly encouraged to review this document, as it contains important additional information.

Application-related announcements or addendums will be posted to this page.

Please direct all inquiries regarding the program and application process to


An optional webinar for applicants will be held on 16 May 2018 at 2PM GMT. To join the webinar live, please use the link below. A recording will be available for viewing once the webinar is complete.