It's impossible to prove or disprove the assertion that something is "typical", but there's much evidence that both effects occur (that science and tech benefit each other).
There are many examples of science benefiting technology but the quintessetial example could be that a scientist, Sir Tim Barners-Lee invented the web while working on basic science at CERN.
In 1989, while working at at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, Tim Berners-Lee proposed a global hypertext project, to be known as the World Wide Web. Based on the earlier "Enquire" work, it was designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. He wrote the first World Wide Web server, "httpd", and the first client, "WorldWideWeb" a what-you-see-is-what-you-get hypertext browser/editor which ran in the NeXTStep environment. This work was started in October 1990, and the program "WorldWideWeb" first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991.
It is a classic example of the so called "spill-over", which is actually well studied. The UK government published a paper in which documents specifically the effect of "big science" on technology advancement and growth.
A survey of high-tech contracts for the Large Hadron Collider concluded that
around 40% of suppliers were able to take those experiences and launch new products or services in the market place
I am surprised that Ridley doesn't know that since his involvement in the Science and Technology select committee of the UK parliament where he is a Lord.
Furthermore the examples given are also pretty much false
The telescope was invented when optics was a well established science. While I agree that the telescope helped astronomy, it was itself built on other more basic science. It was not invented in a knowledge vacuum!
The first steam engine was invented in the first century AD
The earliest known rudimentary steam engine and reaction steam turbine, the aeolipile, is described by a Greek mathematician and engineer named Hero of Alexandria (Heron) in 1st century Roman Egypt, as recorded in his manuscript Spiritalia seu Pneumatica.
The basis of thermodynamics were discovered around 1650 and was clearly unrelated to the steam engine which was basically a non-commercially viable curiosity.
The history of thermodynamics as a scientific discipline generally begins with Otto von Guericke who, in 1650, built and designed the world's first vacuum pump and demonstrated a vacuum using his Magdeburg hemispheres. Guericke was driven to make a vacuum in order to disprove Aristotle's long-held supposition that 'nature abhors a vacuum'. Shortly after Guericke, the physicist and chemist Robert Boyle had learned of Guericke's designs and, in 1656, in coordination with the scientist Robert Hooke, built an air pump. Using this pump, Boyle and Hooke noticed a correlation between pressure, temperature, and volume. In time, they formulated Boyle's Law, which states that for a gas at constant temperature, its pressure and volume are inversely proportional.
The first practical steam engine had to wait until 1712,
It was Thomas Newcomen with his "atmospheric-engine" of 1712 who can be said to have brought together most of the essential elements established by Papin in order to develop the first practical steam engine for which there could be a commercial demand.
but it was invented based on thermodynamics and not vice versa
In 1679, based on these concepts [Boyle's law and thermodynamics ndr], an associate of Boyle's named Denis Papin built a steam digester, which was a closed vessel with a tightly fitting lid that confined steam until a high pressure was generated.