PEI

New database promises easy access to research equipment in Atlantic Canada

The Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED) wants to connect people in need of equipment with those who have it.

The database already lists 265 pieces of equipment from 58 facilities

Science Atlantic has created an online open-access database for research facilities and specialized equipment across the provinces. (CBC)

Research equipment collecting dust in labs across Atlantic Canada may soon get more use, thanks to a new database.

Science Atlantic, a non-profit organization based in Halifax, has created an online open-access database for research facilities and specialized equipment across the provinces.

The Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED) wants to connect people in need of equipment with those who have it, said program manager Patty King.

"So that people know what we have and can find what they need," King told Mainstreet P.E.I. on Friday.

"A bit of a match-making service, if you will."

More affordable access to equipment

Science Atlantic's mandate is to advance science education and promote research and one way to do that is to connect people and help them collaborate, said King.

But AFRED will also save people a lot of money, she said.

Eventually, she hopes the database will be used by businesses, entrepreneurs and different industry groups who may not have the budget to set up their own expensive lab or buy equipment.

"Instead of having to try and find money to buy a $200,000 piece of equipment, well you can just go on AFRED, do a quick search, and find what you are looking for," she said.

Growing the database

The database started running in June 2016 and already lists 265 pieces of equipment from 58 facilities out of 13 institutions. Most of them are colleges and universities.

But King said Science Atlantic now wants to grow the list by adding more private organizations with specialized labs. 

Then the universities can also borrow their equipment if needed, she said.

"There are so many great opportunities here on P.E.I. within the industry. So we want to bring all these people together," she said.

"We can better utilize the stuff that's just sitting there collecting dust, and get more research done, and also help promote the amazing research that's being done in Atlantic Canada."

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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