Instrumental Access: 2017 Request for Applications

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


No. Eligibility is limited to degree-granting institutions of higher education and research institutes only. Academic departments located at university-affiliated teaching hospitals may be eligible, but clinical hospital units are not.
Yes. We will accept separate applications from multiple departments at the same university. Each application will be assessed individually. If successful, multiple applications would result in multiple shipments with the university paying a separate program fee for each shipment.

We will also consider accepting a single joint application from multiple departments if there is a collaborative effort and a compelling reason why that would be the best option for your situation. Applicants wishing to submit a joint application should email us with a brief description of their situation to request pre-approval.

Yes. Please email us at with a description of your situation and we will send additional instructions regarding how to apply.
Yes. You may apply again as long as your institution remains eligible under the current guidelines and you have sufficient additional need. Your application should include a clear explanation of your rationale for re-applying.
No. Individuals, lab groups, and projects are not eligible to apply on their own. We accept applications from academic departments or research units at degree-granting institutions of higher education and research institutes only.

Program Fees & Additional Costs

No. All partners are required to share procurement, warehousing, and shipping costs by paying a program fee. Note that the fee is for our service; the equipment is a donation. The fee is adjusted to income level of your country (according to World Bank classifications at the time of application) as follows:

  • Low-Income Country: $18,500
  • Lower-Middle-Income Country: $26,500
  • Upper-Middle-Income Country: $33,500
No. The program fee is mandatory. Seeding Labs works hard to keep this program affordable, but we do not have additional funds available to subsidize these costs.
Participants are responsible the following costs in addition to the program fee:

  • All costs associated with the customs clearance process (e.g. pre-inspection costs, clearing agent fees, any applicable duties and taxes);
  • Transportation of the equipment from the port of entry to the university;
  • Electrical adapters, transformers, frequency converters, and any other items or services required to make the equipment compatible with your available power supply (most equipment in our inventory is configured for 120V/60Hz);
  • All costs associated with installation, calibration, operation, maintenance, and repair of equipment on an ongoing basis;
  • Any additional costs specific to the particular items selected (e.g. specialized software, reagents, accessories, etc.).
  • We anticipate changing our payment process to require letters of credit in 2018. Any associated banking fees would be your responsibility.
Yes. We will not ask you to pay the program fee until you have selected your equipment so that you can verify that the shipment will meet your needs.
We can’t say for sure as customs and import regulations vary widely. We will provide documentation to demonstrate to local authorities that this shipment is a donation, including an invoice showing that equipment is a donation (fees are for our services) and a donation letter. If your university has a procurement office, we recommend that you check with them for more specific advice about the regulations that may apply to your situation.

Equipment & Shipment Details

Our inventory consists of a wide variety of equipment, glassware, and consumables that are commonly used in biology or chemistry laboratories. You can see the types of equipment we typically distribute here. Please note that Seeding Labs cannot guarantee the availability of any particular item, make, or model at any given time.
No. We do not provide lists of this kind because our inventory fluctuates frequently as equipment donations are received and shipments to other participants are fulfilled. What we have on hand right now is not the same as what will be available next month or next year. If you would like an educated guess on the likely availability of a few specific items, please contact us.
Surplus equipment is donated to Seeding Labs from a variety of sources, including manufacturers and end-users such as pharmaceutical companies and universities. We work with our donors to obtain high-quality equipment to meet the needs of our partners.
The equipment and glassware in our inventory can be new or gently used; consumables are always in full, unopened cases. We do not accept items that are obsolete or customized to the extent that they could not easily be re-purposed. We verify with our donors that all items are fully functional at the time of donation, and we also perform functional tests on equipment as feasible in our warehouse. Please note, however, that some items cannot effectively be tested in a warehouse setting.
Yes. If your department is selected to participate, you will gain access to our available inventory during an assigned “shopping window” via our electronic shopping cart. The total amount of equipment that you can select is limited by: 1) The amount that can fit into a 20-foot container and 2) A points system based on our supply and demand of equipment types to ensure there is an adequate mix of equipment available to you and all program participants.
The fair market value of our recent shipments has averaged between $60,000 and $150,000. Please note that we calculate fair market value for used items and consumables based on the secondary (used) market; the cost to purchase equivalent items new would usually be up to four times higher.
We carry insurance against damage that may occur during the shipping process.
No, we are unable to offer any refunds, replacements, or other warranties.
No, we don’t have the capacity to offer technical assistance. You are solely responsible for equipment set-up, calibration, service, maintenance, and repair.
2017 awardees will be assigned to a three-week equipment selection period during the 2018 calendar year. We stagger the selection periods throughout the year. We ship as soon as possible after equipment selection is complete and payment is received. Partners typically receive their equipment 2-6 months later, with variation based on distance and shipping schedules.

Accessing the Online Portal

Applications must be submitted through our online portal. Questions about the portal? Please download this document for help with:

  • Creating an account
  • Navigating the application form
  • Working on the application offline
  • Returning to a saved application
  • Submitting an application
Download the help document