Equipping and training local institutions and scientists
Takeda and Merck* offer training and mentoring on equipment and are enabling R&D employees to share scientific and technical expertise.
Mali, India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Namibia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, eSwatini, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Armenia, Ukraine, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Mexico, South Africa, Malawi, Peru, Zambia
Emerging global diseases
Providing local universities and researchers with equipment and mentoring
To strengthen research capacity in the fight against emerging global diseases
The US-based NGO Seeding Labs is helping to strengthen research capacity in low- and middle-income countries through its instrumental access programme (IAP). The programme offers an accessible way to build local R&D capacity and make positive impact.
In the countries where it works, the IAP aligns its objectives with those of governments and research institutions. It aims to identify gaps in research capacity and communicate these in a streamlined way to stakeholders through an online platform. By determining what researchers need to be successful and providing fit-for-purpose scientific equipment to support such projects, the IAP helps to build country and institutional research capacity. It also offers scientific and technical training and mentoring to enable recipients to address local challenges effectively and teach future generations.
Following the example of Takeda and Merck, other companies are encouraged to expand involvement by sharing skills and knowledge as part of their R&D engagement activities.
Through IAP, Seeding Labs has provided equipment to more than 2,000 researchers across 36 countries, working on drug discovery, infectious diseases, cancer, diabetes, genetic disorders and other areas. More than 1,800 postgraduate students have used IAP equipment and each year at least 26,000 undergraduate students take courses that rely on IAP-donated equipment.
Four pharmaceutical companies (Takeda, Merck [via MilliporeSigma], Sanofi and Eisai) have partnered with Seeding Labs in the programme. With a strong commitment to monitoring and evaluation, the IAP meets all Good Practice Standards (GPS), setting clear goals and objectives, aligning them with those of institutions and the local health system and measuring outcomes.
Taking the IAP initiative one step further
Takeda and Merck's engagement with the IAP, in particular, is a best practice as they have expanded their commitment to, and involvement in, the programme beyond donating equipment. They offer relevant training and mentoring on the use of the equipment as well as specific therapeutic research knowledge. Both companies have integrated IAP commitments into their internal R&D activities and expanded their geographic scope to include more countries in scope of the Index.
By adding the training and mentoring component, both Takeda and Merck are enabling R&D employees to share scientific and technical expertise and experience in specific therapeutic research areas with local universities and researchers who receive equipment. Takeda’s R&D scientists, for example, respond to training and mentoring needs identified by Seeding Labs after equipment is set up.
Significant impact in the Dominican Republic
Remarkably, the partnership of Takeda and Merck with Seeding Labs has come a long way in the Dominican Republic. IAP equipment was used to launch the nation’s first research centre focused on infectious diseases, which has subsequently attracted international funding and attention for its work on HIV and AIDS prevention and Zika virus as well as receiving certification to process COVID-19 diagnostic tests.
Following the example of Takeda and Merck, other pharmaceutical companies are encouraged to expand involvement by sharing skills and knowledge as part of their engagement activities in R&D.
*Merck KGaA (Darmstadt, Germany)