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Shiny New Science Ministry

Lawmakers in Colombia voted last month to establish the country's first science ministry, Nature News reports.

This, it says, amounts to the promotion and reorganization of its 50-year-old science agency, Colciencias. Colciencias has faced a decreasing budget in recent years, with its funding falling from $135 million in 2013 to $106 million in 2018, according to Nature News. But as the new Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation gives science a spot in the cabinet, the hope is that budget issues and science priorities will be better addressed.

Nature News adds that researchers in Colombia are "cautiously optimistic." It notes, though, that the new ministry will have to grapple with low funds, the lack of an established meritocracy, and other structural and cultural hurdles. The ministry also, it says, will need a savvy leader.

"We need to have a minister with a scientific aptitude and a political attitude," Iván Darío Agudelo, a Colombian senator, tells Nature News.