Research finds many critical medicines began with basic discoveries. 

The tussle between basic scientific research, curiosity-driven with only serendipitous practical outcomes, and the applied variety, targeted from the outset at solving real world problems for the public good, can seem at times like a feud worthy of the Montagues and Capulets.

The bookie’s nod, however, would appear to be with applied research.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) basic science gets only 22% of the research spend of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

But a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine strikes a hefty blow for basic, at least when it comes to drug discovery in medicine.

A team led by stem cell biologist Mark Fishman, from Harvard University in the US, assembled medical experts to engage in a “wisdom of crowds” exercise known, somewhat mystically, as the Delphi method, after the ancient Greek oracle.

Read the full article in Cosmos magazine here