Each year millions of children die from disease, nutritional deficiency, environmental pollutants and war. Millions more survive unable to develop to their full physical, intellectual and psychological potential. The vast majority of these children are in developing countries. Most major paediatric scientific meetings and publications do not focus on the health of these children. Although many individuals and groups do study and care for children in developing regions, they are few compared with the number focused on the care and study of children in high-income countries. The programme for global paediatric research (PGPR) encourages global paediatric research interest and resource investment in global child health. PGPR holds symposia and workshops throughout the world to educate researchers, draw them together to share ideas, determine research agendas and begin collaborations. Such sessions have been held in Thailand and China and are conducted each year at the Pediatric Academic Societies’ annual meeting. PGPR also publishes information for use by researchers, government and non-government agencies and links organisations and individuals together to ensure that key research takes place. The health of the world’s most vulnerable children needs to be addressed by more paediatric researchers and clinicians, more scientific meetings and more publications. There is much opportunity and need for leadership and organised efforts by individuals within the global paediatric community and by the increased involvement and commitment of paediatric organisations throughout the world.