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Cuba is a developing nation with the education standards of a developed country and a skilled scientific workforce.

But while Cuban scientists are doing cutting-edge research with limited resources, only those whose interests match the government's social agenda get the support they need, reports Jim Giles in Nature.

Three areas — applied biomedical, environmental and agricultural sciences — have taken off since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost its biggest source of trade and aid.

Scientists in these fields have met local needs and generated interest from foreign companies.

Other areas of research — and basic science in particular — have languished. And scientists, like all Cubans, face government-imposed travel restrictions.

Yet, says Giles, Cuban scientists remain positive about the future. Cuba offers a lesson to other developing countries seeking to focus their research efforts, he concludes.

Link to full article in Nature 

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