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When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected as Brazil's president last year, the country's scientists were unsure about how the swing to a left-wing leadership would effect them.

But now, some six months after the new administration took over, there is a widespread mood of cautious optimism among scientists, who have been wooed with pledges to double federal spending on research within the four-year term, and to boost the number of young researchers being trained.

More controversial, however, are the Lula government's plans to widen the geographical spread of Brazil's research base, currently dominated by the southern states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo — a move that is bound to create tensions between the current haves and have-nots of Brazilian science.

Link to Nature feature

Reference: Nature 423, 379 (2003)