Seeding Labs, a five-year-old, Harvard University-based effort to collect used and surplus laboratory equipment and distribute it across the developing world, aims not only to transport microscopes but also to forge connections. “You can’t do science in a vacuum, regardless of whether you’re in the U.S. or the Congo,” says Nina Dudnik, Seeding Lab’s founder and a Ph.D. student in molecular biology at Harvard Medical School. “Having the research capacity in the Congo only strengthens us here and vice versa.”
A common complaint among social scientists in recent years is that institutional review boards -- which are supposed to protect the interests of human subjects in research -- are too involved in work they don't understand. Good social science is getting held up, the social scientists say.