I don't agree, or perhaps more accurately, I think that the value of translational and applied research are greatly overlooked. Not because of their focus on a defined endpoint, but because of the unpredictable results that can arise from it. In some cases, the results are basic science. Consider these examples:
- Louis Pasteur was trying to determine what caused wine to turn to vinegar, and ended up creating the field of microbiology.
- While attempting to reduce noise in a communication signal, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation, the residual heat of the Big Bang.
- Roy Plunkett was working was trying to improve the coolant gases used in refrigerators and discovered Teflon
- Viagra was originally developed to help with angina pectoris (chest pains). It didn't do so well at that, but the researchers discovered an unexpected side effect.