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10th Anniversary Impact Update

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The first in a series of posts by our Metrics & Evaluation Manager on the impact of Seeding Labs and our Instrumental Access program.

As we celebrate Seeding Labs’ 10th birthday, we are proud to have united hundreds of supporters to complete 66 Instrumental Access shipments to talented scientists in 29 countries

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Seeding Labs has shipped equipment to 29 countries and counting!

The lab instruments and tools we’ve shipped are conservatively valued at $6.2M. The cost to replace these items would typically be 3-4 times higher, or between $19M and $25M!

I think that’s an impressive accomplishment in its own right. But, as Metrics and Evaluation Manager for Seeding Labs, it’s also my job to document what happens next--the incredible things that equipment enables our partners to accomplish.

How Equipment Leads to Impact

Our Instrumental Access scientists are exceptionally dedicated and resourceful. They report to us exactly which instruments they're using and how, so we know that they’re putting equipment they receive to good use. We’ve told you some of their success stories, and we’ll continue to tell you more throughout this year.

Their work, thanks to the equipment they've received for research and teaching, is changing the world in three ways:

  • Generating new knowledge that catalyzes solutions to local and global problems,
  • Providing hands-on experience to a new generation of scientists, teachers, engineers, farmers, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs, and
  • Marshalling resources to build robust scientific institutions.

All of these efforts collectively facilitate development and progress.

Where We Stand Today

Since 2012, fueled by the support of our generous donors, we have dramatically scaled up our operations. More than 40% of our shipments have left our warehouse in the past 2 years alone. As everyone who’s ever stepped into a lab knows, science is nearly always a slow process, and even the best research takes years to bear fruit. So it's safe to assume that much of our impact is still unfolding.

While it does, my focus will be on measuring progress towards impact--what evaluators call intermediate outcomes.

As of the beginning of 2018, we have follow-up data from 11 shipments (of 34 total) delivered since 2012. At these 11 institutions, Instrumental Access equipment has been used for:

Catalyzing Research

Equipment from Seeding Labs has been essential in advancing 59 unique research projects.

Topics include agriculture, energy, health, and the environment, and range from rapid diagnosis of cancer and infectious disease to biofuel development to increasing production of staple food crops.

Training the Next Generation of Scientists

Equipment from Seeding Labs has enabled practical, hands-on lab teaching as part of 147 courses or subjects impacting more than 9,000 students per year.

Graduate students (37% female) have worked on 33 Masters theses and 64 PhD dissertations using labs outfitted with Instrumental Access equipment.

Building Sustainable Science Capacity

19 applications for new research funding have been submitted for projects relying on equipment from Seeding Labs. Of those applications, $1.2M has been secured!

To put this in perspective, research grants from the South African government, one of the African continent’s most prolific funders of research, are usually in the range of $25k or less.

These outcome numbers will continue to rise as more data come in. In fact, if these initial shipments are representative, the metrics should triple when we have data from the other recent shipments--and that doesn’t even account for continued progress and additional shipments as more time passes!

Looking Ahead

During this 10th anniversary year, I’ll be updating you with more examples of our impact. You’ll hear scientist success stories, updates on our core metrics, and new stories as they emerge from the data. Stay tuned...


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Christina Viola Srivastava

As Seeding Labs' Metrics and Evaluation Manager, Christina collects and analyzes information to document the impact of Seeding Labs' programs and to identify opportunities for improvement. She has 14 years of experience as an evaluator of research programs and portfolios.

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