Pediatric critical care was formally recognized as a separate subspecialty in pediatrics in 1987. Since that time the numbers of pediatric intensivists, pediatric intensive care units, and pediatric intensive care beds in the United States have increased dramatically. Research efforts have lagged behind, however, as this new discipline has struggled to identify the necessary time, funding, and other resources to pursue clinical and laboratory investigation. In April 2004, the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development issued a request for applications to establish the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network (CPCCRN). The CPCCRN provides an infrastructure to pursue collaborative clinical trials and descriptive studies in pediatric critical care medicine. Six pediatric centers involving seven intensive care units and a data-coordinating center were identified through a competitive application process. Network goals include the support of collaborative clinical trials otherwise impracticable in single institutions and the establishment of a framework for developing the scientific basis for pediatric critical care practice. This article describes how the CPCCRN was established, its organization, and its goals and future plans.