Academics spend a lot of their time trying to obtain the money to do the science that they are interested in. One good source of money in the UK are the UK research councils. For most of my research the Natural Environment Research Council is a possible funder.
However, the research councils aren't flush with cash and funding is highly competitive. At present the success rate of NERC research proposals is 14% or, to flip that around 86% of the ideas submitted to the NERC for science projects aren't funded. There's a debate to be had about how productive it is for UK environmental scientists to spend a lot of time writing proposals that don't get funded but the level of competition does keep us on our toes and the quality of UK environmental science really does punch above its weight, quite possibly as a consequence of this intense competition.