It's not just money; its the needs of a civilization. Two thousand years ago, the Greeks invented the first computer. The computer was used to record the motions of the celestial bodies. This development was not applied to other areas of expertise.
Ironically, the first major computer in modern times was used to calculate firing solutions for battleship guns.
So it's not so much the needs of civilization, but the PRIORITIES of civilization. When you live in a militaristic country run by imperialists, the best thing you can do is try to sell your lab to the military and siphon off some of that defense spending.
Which I think these guys ought to do. It shouldn't be that hard to convert this fusion drive into a kind of low-energy fusion weapon, maybe using an explosively-pumped power supply to compress the ring around the fusion target and trigger the reaction. A device that uses, say, a hundred kilograms of explosives as a trigger could yield the equivalent of a hundred tons of TNT.
In the modern world, it's easier to beat a sword into a plowsheer than vice versa. If you want to make a bigger plow, what you really need is to convince the warriors that they need a bigger sword.