UKZN-Selected-for-Seeding-Labs-2017-Instrumental-Access-ProgrammeA successful bid by Professor Annegret Stark led to UKZN being awarded equipment to advance
scientific research and teaching through the Seeding Labs 2017 Instrumental Access programme.

UKZN is one of 15 global institutions awarded equipment to advance scientific research and teaching through the Seeding Labs 2017 Instrumental Access programme.

Seeding Labs is a United States-based non-profit organisation working to accelerate solutions to the world’s most pressing problems by catalysing the power of scientists. Its flagship programme, Instrumental Access, makes high-quality laboratory equipment and supplies available to university departments and research institutes in developing countries.

After a rigorous screening process, UKZN was one of 15 institutions chosen for Instrumental Access 2017 from a pool of 65 applications from 24 countries.

The application for instrumental access was made by Professor Annegret Stark of UKZN’s School of Engineering (Chemical Engineering).  Stark holds the Sugar Milling Research Institute Chair in Biorefinery.

In her application, Stark outlined the ways that an infusion of scientific equipment would remove barriers to STEM education and research at UKZN, pave the way for new avenues of scientific inquiry and expand hands-on opportunities for students.

The equipment will be used by Stark’s Bioeconomy Research Group, in the Department of Chemical Engineering.  This interdisciplinary group is investigating opportunities to convert local biomass into chemicals and materials, and implement the biorefinery concept in industry. The group takes a holistic approach, covering fundamental investigations of biomass composition and properties, resource and market analysis, chemical and catalytic conversion and separation, as well as process development.

‘Equipment provides a foundation for other critical resources that allow scientists to generate new knowledge, leverage sustainable funding and better prepare university students for the scientific workforce and innovation economy,’ said Stark.  ‘We are extremely grateful for this award of laboratory equipment from Seeding Labs.’

Seeding Labs founder and CEO Dr Nina Dudnik commented:  ‘Science is a global endeavour and we are pleased to work with UKZN to strengthen scientific research and education around the world.  We believe that the global scientific community is strongest when everyone can fully and actively contribute to scientific progress.’

To date, Seeding Labs has shipped 137 tons of equipment to 47 institutions in 27 countries.

Sally Frost