This morning, I was chatting with a colleague, Richard Hotte, and we were discussing research, funding, and the relation between the two. I’ve also had these discussions with Martin Brooks. Richard pointed out that John Travolta has figured it out all some years ago when he received a prize at Cannes for the movie Pulp Fiction. According to Richard, Travolta was asked then about how it felt to finally win a prize that he surely coveted for many years. John Travolta answered that his goal was never to win a prize, but rather to grow as an actor. The prize was nice, but not his goal.
This echoes my own feeling about funding for research. If your goal is funding, you’ll probably get some, maybe a lot, but unfortunately, you may never become a great researcher.