The Nepalese government's backtracking last month on its political patronage of academia (Nature 506, 279; 2014) raises hopes that appointments to top university positions will soon be made by non-political committees of scholars. Such a move would ensure the selection of senior academics on merit, rather than political affiliation; these individuals would help to attract much-needed funding for education and research.

The Nepalese government needs to create an educational system that is free of political meddling and nepotism. The country's young scientists will return from abroad only when a proper infrastructure is in place that will enable them to implement their skills and to realize their ambitions in a merit-based society.