Shakespeare's "Hamlet" sums up my feelings quite well.
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god—the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!” (Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” II.ii.293–297)
This soliloquy is based on the works of Pico della Mirandola, an Italian humanists. Humanists proposed that the purpose of cultivating reason was to lead to a better understanding of how to act. Their hope was that the coordination of action and understanding would lead to great benefits for society as a whole. (Sparknotes)
Research, in my humble opinion, is the coordination of action through which these great benefits will come. It is necessary to facilitate growth not just in the scientific community, but in society as well.