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Colombia's science funding agency, Colciencias, has identified six fields of research that it will prioritise by establishing 'centres of research excellence'. The fields include biodiversity and genetic resources, nanotechnology, infectious tropical diseases and biotechnology. Each will receive a budget of US$1.7 million over the next five years.

But, says Germán Poveda in this letter to Nature, many leading scientists and institutions in Colombia were not consulted while Colciencias drew up its list of priorities. According to Poveda, although the selected areas are important and relevant, critical research topics such as water and the environment have been ignored.

Colciencias should actively involve Colombian scientists to ensure the legitimacy of its funding priorities and their relevance in both social and scientific terms, says Poveda.

Link to full letter in Nature

Reference: Nature 431, 125 (2004)