DEADLINE EXTENDED! Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge: A TeleScience Telethon presented by SANBio & Seeding Labs


In collaboration with the Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio), Seeding Labs is challenging scientists and students from developing countries to create videos for our online TeleScience video library in our first-ever telethon: the Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge (watch video here).

With the worldwide impact of COVID-19, researchers facing a return to work have had to rapidly innovate enhanced lab safety protocols with the resources on hand.

This Challenge is designed to solicit videos that share creative solutions for lab safety in a time of COVID-19 that could be adopted by scientists in labs with limited resources, no matter where they might be.

Scientists and students are challenged to present their innovations in brief videos for our TeleScience library. Topics could include demonstrating how to safely sanitize instrumentation, or detailing how to adapt a physical lab space to implement social distancing between researchers, to name a few.

The Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge is global and open to anyone. Participants will include scientists and students from the Instrumental Access network and beyond, including the SANBio community of researchers from Southern Africa. Videos will be peer-reviewed by the Laboratory Safety Institute and four winners will receive a SANBio prize hamper.



Can you help?

Laboratory staff are used to working in an environment where samples are infectious, but the COVID-19 pandemic presents an extra challenge in an environment where colleagues may be asymptomatic carriers of respiratory disease.

Often the work performed in labs is critical to the health of our communities, whether directly processing diagnostics for disease, or training the next generation of students to become medical professionals and researchers.

Returning to the lab requires solutions to new challenges, such as protocols for safely disinfecting and sharing equipment, to the separation of physical spaces and people. For labs unfamiliar with working with infectious diseases and microbial pathogens, known sterile environment techniques and low-cost solutions need to be shared as well.

Has your lab implemented low-cost solutions? Do you have sterile techniques to share?
The Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge is designed to solicit videos that share solutions for lab safety in a time of COVID-19 that can be adopted by scientists in labs with limited resources, no matter where they might be. Technological solutions for everyday challenges can also be developed with a bit of ingenuity, even when the resources available are not always cutting-edge.

Join a global community of scientific problem-solvers and put your creativity to the test by solving real challenges.



Show us how you practice a safe working environment in the current COVID-19 environment when working in your lab, or working with lab equipment or medical devices at your university or college.


Anything that promotes methods for lab workers to return safely to the lab!

You can share innovations developed by you or techniques that are already established as written protocols but would benefit from being shared more widely in video format. Our goal is to bring together all knowledge, whether new or existing, that supports a safe laboratory working environment.


Some suggestions include, but are not limited to:

Demonstration of sterile techniques, such as how to put on and remove gloves, masks, and other PPE
Educational information on choosing the correct PPE, including what types of materials to use for masks, gloves, coats, goggles, etc.
Demonstrating how to sanitize specific instruments and/or what chemicals are safe to use for sanitation and equipment integrity (i.e., will not damage the equipment)
Procedures added to the lab, such as entry and exit protocols, the introduction of shifts, and other tools and systems to support physical distancing
Ways to safely conserve the use of PPE and other materials, including ways to disinfect masks, lab coats, and other reusable PPE


You can help spread your knowledge across the global scientific community. You will show off your method and get feedback from other academics and industry sponsors.

Seeding Labs will host the best videos on its TeleScience website. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a free laboratory safety training from the Laboratory Safety Institute. All participants whose applications pass the safety review will receive a Challenge participation certificate. Prize hampers will be awarded to four SANBio network winners.


The SANBio & Seeding Labs Pandemic Lab Safety Challenge is open to students (undergraduate and graduate) and academics across the globe who are learning or working in a lab.

Applicants are expected to form and apply for the Challenge as teams of one to four people. Team members do not need to be from the same country or institution. For enquiries, please contact

Application Process

The application will be in two phases:

For the first phase, a written summary of the video needs to be submitted with a description of the technique or innovation to be filmed and a background of relevant safety information. The deadline for these submissions has been extended to 15 September 2021.
These descriptions will be reviewed by the Laboratory Safety Institute to ensure that information meets safety standards and does not encourage unsafe techniques. All applications that pass the safety review will be asked to then submit their video.
All videos will be evaluated by a judging committee comprising of Seeding Labs, SANBio, and corporate sponsors.



First, form your team and ensure you have all the necessary information from all team members before completing the application. The application needs to be filled in one go; unfinished applications do not save automatically and cannot be returned.

On the first page, you will be asked to provide information for the team leader, who will also be the main contact point between the team and the Challenge organizers. On the following pages, you will be asked to fill in the same information for the other team members.

Then, you will be asked to share the solution you intend to create. Please describe the problem your solution is addressing. In as much detail as possible, describe what the video will demonstrate. Add a justification for why you believe that this technique supports a safe working environment.

If available, please also provide a citation to references that support the use of your technique as a safe technique. For example, an equipment manual detailing proper equipment decontamination technique, a handbook that describes the protocol you are sharing, or published sources showing the material’s permeability to viral transmission.

Lastly, please include an estimated budget for what it would cost a lab to implement your solution. The cost will not be a judging factor but can help potential labs evaluate solutions that they can use.

After the application period has closed and the teams have been selected, the participating teams will be requested to submit their videos to the judging committee by July 15, 2021. All applications must be submitted in English, although videos can be (and are encouraged to be) submitted in other languages.



  • Videos should be a maximum of 8 minutes long; shorter videos are preferred
  • Narration can be spoken in any language, but if not spoken in English, an English transcript is required
  • Videos can be filmed, animated, or a combination of techniques that most efficiently use a video format to demonstrate the technique
  • Videos do not need to be filmed inside a laboratory if demonstration of the technique does not require it

To the extent possible, all proper safety techniques should be demonstrated through the video. For example, if demonstrating the use of a chemical that requires the wearer to wear goggles, the wearer should wear goggles even if, for demonstration purposes only, the actual chemical is replaced with a non-hazardous chemical such as water


Start your application now!


#Pandemiclabsafetychallenge is proudly sponsored by:

Millipore Sigma, Toka Bio, Laboratory Safety Institute and Research Square Company