If you only have 30 seconds: TReND gathers equipment from labs all around the world who no longer use it and ship it to our African partners. Here, we identify Universities in Africa who have need for a certain type of equipment and aim to match them with available items in storage. Later, through on-site instruction as well as monitoring of the equipment in place, we ensure the proper use of the donated materials.

Building Infrastructure

African Universities often lack the funds to build the infrastructure required to perform key experiments. We help to overcome that limitation by donating equipment to laboratories across the continent, often by gathering equipment that is no longer used in its current location, be it in a laboratory in Europe, or from a company that no longer sells certain items.

To avoid providing equipment that will not be used, we prioritise shipments to places where we can have volunteers on site who can teach the use of the equipment to the local staff as required. Often this happens in the scope of a short course on a particular subject where the volunteer will need the equipment to teach the course in the first place. By doing so, the new techniques can be implemented directly and the know-how stays in the University.

Our donations are on a “permanent loan” basis: This means that the equipment formally belongs to TReND in Africa, but it will be permanently located at the receiving African Institution. The material will stay there indefinitely unless there is a strong incentive to retrieve it, such as misuse or neglect. This not only ensures that the knowledge and infrastructure is in place for the best possible use, but also that it continues to be operational for the years to come.

Can you donate some equipment?

If you, your institution or company is able to provide any equipment towards this cause, please contact Lukas, our Equipment coordinator, at lvtobel<at>

Some of our beneficiary institutions

  • IBR, Kampala International University, Uganda
  • Dept. of Zoology, U of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
  • Dept. of Anatomy, Gombe State University, Nigeria
  • Anatomy Department, Bingham University, Nigeria
  • KIU Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Inst. of Biomed. Sciences
  • Mekelle University, Ethiopia, ICIPE, Nairobi, Kenya

Some of our donors

Companies: ADInstruments, DinoLite, Backyard Brains, Star Labs, Witec AG, AHF

Equipment was donated by researchers at the following institutions: University of Cambridge, UK; MRC-LMB, Cambridge, UK; Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK; University of Sussex, UK; University of Lausanne, Switzerland; EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland; University of Zurich, Switzerland; FMI Basel, Switzerland; University of Geneva, Switzerland; University of Tübingen, Germany; MPI Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany; New York University, USA; Harvard University, USA. HHMI Janelia Research Campus, USA.

Why it is important

Research equipment is costly and often even the simplest experiments cannot be performed due to lack of the required tools. We aim at enabling African researchers and scientists to carry out internationally competitive research by providing them with free but fully functional second hand equipment.

Why it is unique

Our shipments typically come with how-to knowledge and we make sure that the donated equipment is followed up and put to good use.

Who do we target

Institutions with a strong motivation to receive a certain type of equipment and that are willing and able to leverage our donations to actively promote scientific research and teaching on site to a variety of researchers and scientist; ideally in combination with a volunteer on site who can instruct the proper use of the equipment.


In many labs around the world, equipment that no longer has a purpose or no longer is in use because it has been replaced and often sits around on shelves somewhere in the basement and collects dust. At the same time, many underfunded Universities in Africa could profit from that equipment. Therefore, we aim at recruiting volunteers all over the world to locate this type of equipment and ship it to places where it will still serve a purpose and not only act as a dust collector and goes to waste.