Why Look for Research Funding?
Research includes a broad range of activities. As UK institutions depend heavily on the outcome of the Research Assessment Exercise for funding, the definition of research it provides is probably most relevant. A professor who is expected to spend, say, a third of his or her time on 'scholarship' may be able and willing to conduct that research relatively independently, perhaps only depending on a departmental secretary and research students for support and resource. Changing the world is not something that happens overnight and not all research can be expected to affect immediately the decisions and actions of others. To apply for most research projects, the principal applicant must be a senior member of the academic staff. This requirement reveals a number of related issues, notably that of gender bias. For anyone who believes 'the personal is political', this may be one very good reason to apply for research funding.