Research on the Rise
Science in a Livable City
Seattle Children’s Research Institute is a great place to do your life’s work.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute is one of the top five pediatric research institutions in the nation, based on funding from the NIH. Our 11-story building in downtown Seattle features state-of-the-art bench research facilities. Since 2003, we’ve grown from 20,000 to 350,000 square feet of research space; future plans include expanding to up to 2 million square feet of research space.
“It’s a great place to do your life’s work,” says Jim Hendricks, PhD, president of the research institute. “It’s the perfect mix of place and opportunity — all the ingredients are there and you want to sit down at the table.”
Between 2003 and 2009, our NIH funding increased from $6 million to $30 million (which includes ARRA awards). Our total extramural funding in 2009 was nearly $58 million. Approximately 70% comes from federal awards and 30% from foundations and other grantors.
Half of the growth in our portfolio during the past two years is new dollars, and half is funds that have been added to existing programs — proof that not only are we bringing in great scientists, but our current investigators continue to be very successful.
While many of our 200 principal investigators are engaged in bench research to find cures for childhood diseases, more than half are working to bring those advances to the bedside. That’s why 50% of our portfolio comprises awards for clinical and translational research.
A livable city
Part of Children’s success in attracting and retaining the highest caliber of researchers is the fact that there’s something for everyone in Seattle. The Puget Sound’s beautiful geography, casual lifestyle and thriving arts and entertainment community make it a special place to live or raise a family.
“The social fabric of Seattle and the uniqueness of its various neighborhoods provide a fit for each member of a principal investigator’s team,” says Hendricks. “The community is open and affirming to different lifestyles, so there’s plenty of choice to fit every personality.”
“Seattle is a perfect place to get inspired. That’s why I think there are so many great researchers here,” says Jan “Nino” Ramirez, PhD, director of the institute’s Center for Integrative Brain Research. “If you sit at your desk and try to think of a big idea, it won’t happen. Too many details grab your attention. But if you go hiking on Mt. Rainier and don’t get big ideas, something is wrong!”
Commitment and collaboration
In addition to being located in a thriving city and region, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is part of a financially stable, standalone children’s hospital that is committed to pediatric research for the long term.
“We have great support from Seattle Children’s board of trustees and a commitment to curing kids,” explains Hendricks. “We provide an environment that nurtures researchers — including strong partnerships with the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, with many nonprofit biomedical institutes, and with our global health partners such as the Gates Foundation.”
But it is the spirit of collaboration that truly sets the research institute apart from its peers.
“Seattle Children’s is the most collaborative environment I’ve worked in, and it extends well beyond my group,” says John Welsh, PhD, who joined the research institute in 2009 as a principal investigator in the Center for Integrative Brain Research. “People throughout the research institute are always willing to help.”
“It’s the people here who make the difference,” says longtime infectious diseases investigator Dr. Arnie Smith. “They have a strong commitment to kids, a thirst for scientific knowledge and a willingness to cooperate.”