Understanding mechanisms of childhood disease and development of rational therapeutics are fundamental to progress in pediatric intensive care specialties. However, Division Chiefs and Department Chairs face unique challenges when building effective laboratory-based research programs in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care, owing to high clinical demands necessary to maintain competence as well as financial pressures arising from fund flow models and the current extramural funding climate. Given these factors, the role of institutional support that could facilitate successful transition of promising junior faculty to independent research careers is ever more important. Would standardized guidelines of such support provide greater consistency among institutions? We addressed preliminary questions during a national focus group, a workshop and a survey of junior and senior academicians to solicit recommendations for optimal levels of protected time and resources when starting an independent laboratory. The consensus was that junior faculty should be assigned no more than 8 wk clinical service and should obtain start-up funds of $500K-1M exclusive of a 5-y committed salary support. Senior respondents placed a higher premium on protected time than junior faculty.