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What do potato chips and microwaves have in common? Both inventions had a big impact on people’s lives, and both were invented by accident. In fact, experts believe that serendipity plays a major role in an estimated 30% to 50% of scientific discoveries. But at a time of heavy budget cuts, funding agencies want to make sure the research they are funding is likely to result in purposeful innovation – be it a new drug or a widely-used consumer product. In the journal Nature, science writer Neil Savage outlines some of the ways agencies seek to measure the impact of scientific research – which, Savage admits, still makes for very inexact science. getAbstract recommends his article to research and funding agencies.
About the Author
Neil Savage is a freelance science and technology writer.