The general objective of the "Rehabilitation Medicine Summit: Building Research Capacity" was to advance and promote research in medical rehabilitation by making recommendations to expand research capacity. The five elements of research capacity that guided the discussions were: 1) researchers; 2) research culture, environment, and infrastructure; 3) funding; 4) partnerships; and 5) metrics. The 100 participants included representatives of professional organizations, consumer groups, academic departments, researchers, governmental funding agencies, and the private sector. The small group discussions and plenary sessions generated an array of problems, possible solutions, and recommended actions. A post-Summit, multi-organizational initiative is called to pursue the agendas outlined in this report (see Additional File 1).