Stem cell researchers in the United States, hobbled for years by President George Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, are looking forward to Barack Obama taking office in January.
And outside the U.S., researchers are using his election to push their own governments for more funding.
Mary Hendrix, a stem-cell scientist at Northwestern University in Chicago, said Obama needs to give a clear signal to the scientific community early in his administration that he will jump start research in the U.S.
"The biopharmaceutical industry has been skittish about making investment in this kind of research. An executive order would give the signal that it's acceptable."
Obama promised during the campaign to issue such an order.
James Thomson, a stem-cell scientist at the University of Wisconsin who created the first human embryonic-stem-cell line in 1998, however, said money will also have to accompany any such order -- but expects that sort of action to take time.
"To make stem-cell science take off, it needs something equivalent to Nixon's war on cancer. ... But because of today's economic realities, it's not going to happen for at least a couple of years."
Opponents of embryonic research vow to continue fighting such work, saying it involves the destruction of life.
Obama has already named several pro-stem cell bioethicists to his transition team.
Meanwhile, researchers in Britain are warning their government that Obama's election could hurt them. With U.S. scientists held back by Bush's ban, scientists in other countries have been able to surpass the work of their American colleagues.
Chris Mason, professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, said an infusion of cash is needed to solidify the advances made by British scientists.
“The UK, through its firm commitment of public money to stem cell research, remains at the cutting edge of the science. Now is the time to translate this valuable knowledge into real benefits for patients. This will require additional funding for translation [into the clinic] and manufacture, plus strong commitment to these advanced therapies."
The current credit crunch has made it difficult for researchers to raise private capital, making government funding all the more important, Mason, a member of the UK Stem Cell Network steering committee, said.