Advocates of palliative care research have often described the cold and difficult environment that has constrained the development of research internationally. The development of palliative care research has been slow over the last few decades and has met with resistance and sometimes hostility to the idea of conducting research in 'vulnerable populations'. The seeds of advocacy for research can be found in palliative care literature from the 1980s and early 1990s. Although we have much to do, we need to recognize that palliative care research development has come a long way. Of particular note is the development of well-funded collaboratives that now exist in Europe, Canada, Australia and the USA. The European Association for Palliative Care and the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care has recognized the need to develop and promote global research initiatives, with a special focus on developing countries. Time is needed to develop good research evidence and in a more complex healthcare environment takes increasingly more resources to be productive. The increased support (global warming) evident in the increased funding opportunities available to palliative care researchers in a number of countries brings both benefits and challenges. There is evidence that the advocacy of individuals such as Kathleen Foley, Neil MacDonald, Balfour Mount, Vittorio Ventafridda, Robert Twycross and Geoff Hanks is now providing fertile ground and a much friendlier environment for a new generation of interdisciplinary palliative care research. We have achieved many of the goals necessary to avoid failure of the 'palliative care experiment', and need to accept the challenge of our present climate and adapt and take advantage of the change.