The Equipment Sharing Project is Cambridge’s global initiative to raise awareness of equipment sharing and drive efficiencies by maximising the opportunity for national and international collaboration. Developed in 2012 as a response to changes proposed by RCUK to the way that equipment on research grants would be funded and expectations of improved efficiencies in the use of equipment and in particular increased shared usage. However, when the call came to respond to the pandemic, it delivered.
As the Equipment Sharing Project Manager, Christopher says, “typically we use it as a central platform to help researchers find equipment and facilities available for sharing, encourage internal, national, and international research collaboration, increase the exposure of facilities that can be used to recover equipment costs, highlight the University’s commitment to share equipment (beneficial when grant applications are under consideration) and as a way to indirectly contribute toward waste reduction, reduced consumption, recycling, and carbon profiling”.
When the UK was gripped by the first wave of the COVID-19 tsunami Christopher was tasked with speaking directly to laboratory and equipment managers to see how they could support the Government’s rapidly developing COVID-19 Test Facility in Milton Keynes to help ensure they had sufficient quantities of reagents and equipment to meet their 100,000 daily testing target by the end of April.
The equipment database provides members of staff and students across the University with details of over 3400 individual items of equipment and more than 70 existing Small Research Facilities, as well as funding support and news via the publicly accessible website that operates in parallel.