The 21 September 2013 Economist contains an article exploring just how serendipitous science research can be. A group of scientists at Michigan Technological University lead by Lyon King were exploring how to create fuel for very small rockets (details of their research can be found here: http://www.me.mtu.edu/researchAreas/isp/). Their research lead them to look at ways in which electric fields have been used to create thrust. Unexpectedly they heard of research done at the University of Sydney on behalf of the Sirflex company in the USA exploring how to insert similar fluids into tumor cells and use the energy they produce to kill the tumor (more details of this research can be found here: http://www.sirflox.com/).
The two teams are now combining their efforts to achieve very different results.