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Money can enable research and reward those who choose a career in health research. However, powerful research often depends on researchers having a concept of 'excellence' and a capacity to work across 'networks' of people who may have rather different perspectives. Those networks may include experts in implementation, and patients or carers. Dedicated individuals that can bring both people and ideas together over time, add power and sustainability to research. My examplar was the inspiring Sir Peter Medawar, but there were many other examples in the life sciences and clinical settings who both challenged and guided fellow researchers to excel. Will the future UK environment for research generate such dedicated and generous human capital.... or will short term market forces and insular thinking shrivel British science?