Paediatric research represents a broad spectrum of basic science, clinical, translational, epidemiological and policy research. In an era of funding constraints, however, paediatric health problems and paediatric research may be a lower priority than adult health problems. Nonetheless, a greater understanding of paediatric problems and greater investment in paediatric research may be a cost-effective way to contribute new knowledge that benefits adults and children. Furthermore, international collaborative research may be an effective means of leveraging resources for the benefit of children throughout the world. I will review the status of paediatric research in the USA, highlighting the priority research areas and funding levels for federally funded research. I will also review the implications of paediatric research for organisational cooperation between the Society for Pediatric Research in the United States (SPR) and the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR).