Founded in 2006, the Children's Discovery Institute (CDI) is a partnership between St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) to find innovative, more precise and personalized treatments for a spectrum of childhood diseases. Without this type of research, there is no progress.

The MD and PhD scientists and clinical staff at the CDI are relentlessly focused on speeding the path from laboratory research to life-changing therapies. As a leading center for pediatric research, the CDI model is unique in its cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach to rigorous science intertwined with world-class patient care. Washington University investigators are at the forefront of developing personalized medicine for children and families who currently have limited options for treatments or cures.

For nearly 15 years, the CDI primarily focused on four specific pediatric disease areas: congenital heart disease, cancer, lung and respiratory disorders and musculoskeletal diseases. Progress has been made and clinical trials have provided game-changing results. It's now time to advance initial findings and propel St. Louis Children's Hospital and WUSM forward into a new era of research and discovery.

15 Years of Progress
Since 2006, St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation has granted more than $93.9 million to advance CDI pediatric research.

  • This philanthropic investment of CDI investigator-led projects has had a remarkable return on investment, with the generation of more than 1,439 research papers.
  • More than 240 grants have been awarded to researchers since the CDI's inception.
  • Awardees have leveraged their initial seed funding to gain more than $550 million in additional funding resources from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other organizations. In other words, for every $1 invested by the CDI to stimulate new research and treatment, the clinical investigators attract $5 in additional funding to advance discoveries.

Looking Ahead
The breakthroughs enabled through your ongoing support are providing answers for children and families living with pediatric illness. With the proven success of the CDI model, the team will expand the scope of research supported by the CDI to encompass many more areas of child health by establishing Centers of Excellence. These Centers will bring a laser-like focus on children's diseases by combining clinical and laboratory-based approaches using diverse teams of investigators.

Donor gifts will continue fueling hope that earlier, more accurate diagnoses will lead to improved treatments and outcomes. They will also allow us to invest in fostering and supporting young investigators in their early careers as we strive to build long-term collaborations with these talented scientists.

The Children's Discovery Institute is not currently accepting Letters of Intent. Future grant cycles will be posted here and announced via the Washington University's Research News Listserv.

Document Access:
Please access documents related to the CDI at the WUSTL Box link below. The CDI Grants Portal link is below for direct access. 

Link to WUSTL Box:

  • CDI Documents for LOI and Proposal Submission
  • CDI Information on Active Cores (Genome Technologies Core, Pediatric Disease Mouse Models Core, Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging, Zebrafish Models for Pediatric Research)
  • CDI Policies & Guidelines
  • List of CDI Awards (Current & Past)

Link to CDI Grants Portal (use to submit an LOI, Proposal, or Progress Report):

Please contact Betsy Crites at 314.286.2808 or [email protected] with any questions or if any additional documents are needed.