Correspondence | Published:


Funding plea for rural lab outreach

Nature volume 515, page 198 (13 November 2014) | Download Citation

The Imagine Project, set up last year by a group of Brazilian researchers (see, is taking scientific knowledge out of the laboratory to share it with people from rural and indigenous communities. Despite their remarkable response, the initiative is still struggling to be funded.

Scientists and students from universities in Brazil, Morocco, Angola, Mexico and Peru are teaching, for example, molecular biology to Brazilian Indians, genome analysis to Peruvian Inca descendants and facts about solar energy to teenage land-workers (see

Community members work and study on alternate days. The learners have, without exception, shown great enthusiasm. Their manual skills often exceed those of urban university students.

The project has been totally funded by Brazil's Federal University of Santa Catarina since its inception. Applications to corporate and governmental funding organizations have so far met with a dispiriting response.

The knowledge imparted is viewed as “too universal” — with no potential for immediate conversion into solutions for food, health or environmental problems. Policy-makers seem to regard the people who are engaged as too remote, too few and too 'invisible' to justify involving them in modern developments in science and technology.

Author information


  1. Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil.

    • André Ramos
    •  & Guilherme Razzera


  1. Search for André Ramos in:

  2. Search for Guilherme Razzera in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to André Ramos.

About this article

Publication history




By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing