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Voluntary project: Ultra Low Freezers (-80) in the Clinical School | Status: Completed | Date: March 2014

Person: Harrison Bowers | Subject: Biochemistry | Supervisor: Claire Hopkins

Project summary: This project looked at -80 freezers in one of the departments at the University to assess the number, maintenance, sample storage practices, and purchasing of these freezers.

Key findings: A report was produced and given to the departments in the Clinical Schools with recommendations for improvements, highlighting best practice in maintenance and purchasing for the departments to consider. A framework for auditing was created.

Read the full summary here.


  • Purchase freezer defrosting kits.
  • Raise freezer temperatures to -70˚C.
  • Host annual freezer cleanouts to remove samples that are no longer needed; not only will this free up more space for the existing freezer, it will also prevent the purchasing of new freezers.
  • If the freezer is full of relevant, clearly labelled samples, before the purchase of a new freezer is attempted, labs should ask neighbouring labs whether they would be willing to share freezer space.  It was found that across almost all departments, freezers were rarely full, and some were much less than half full.

How has it been used? The results of the audits have been passed to departments in the Clinical Schools for informing their freezer replacement programme.