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The bureaucracy and cost involved in importing scientific materials and equipment is stifling research in many developing nations.

In this letter to Nature, Peter Campbell of University College London argues that excessive bureaucracy involved in some grant-giving processes is exacerbating this situation.

He also gives some practical advice, stating that it helps if imports of scientific equipment are classified as humanitarian aid rather than technical aid, in order to avoid taxes, although this may take several months.

Link to full letter in Nature 

Reference: Nature 429, 343 (2004)