SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

ESRC Future Research Leaders Award for SPRU academic

ESRC logoDr Ohid Yaqub has been awarded a three year research grant by the ESRC for a project on "serendipity". Serendipity is the notion in science policy that basic research leads to unexpected valuable outcomes, and since the outcomes of basic research are impossible to predict, research itself is difficult (perhaps even impossible) to manage or direct towards specific social ends.

The project will undertake a mix of fundamental basic research on the nature and history of serendipity, and its influence on research policy, together with applied policy-focused research on issues of direct relevance to government policy makers, medical charities and industrial research and development managers. It will examine data and rare archives in the U.S. with mixed quantitative and qualitative methods to generate large scale evidence as well six detailed case studies. It will then focus on developing theory and implications to inform future policy on research and innovation.

Dr Yaqub is especially delighted that his project brings together two of the leading research groups in the world working on science policy. He will be working at Mailman, Columbia University, USA, (with Associate Professor Bhaven Sampat and Professor Richard Nelson) and at SPRU, Sussex University, UK (with Professors Ben Martin and Paul Nightingale).
The Future Research Leaders fellowship is intended to "enable outstanding early-career social scientists to become the future world leaders in their field". This year, 40 awards were made across a range of economic and social science disciplines.