Introduction Nutrition is a 'hard' science in two ways; the scientific rigour required for quality nutrition research, and equally, the challenges faced in evidence translation. Ways in which quality nutrition research can be synthesised and evidence effectively translated into practice were the focus of the Fourth Annual International Summit on Medical and Public Health Nutrition Education and Research. Setting Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, and Addenbrookes Hospital at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, in July 2018. Key findings Open communication and collaboration across disciplines and systems, including transfer of knowledge, ideas and data through international knowledge application networks, was presented as a key tool in enhancing nutrition research and translation of evidence. Increasing basic nutrition competence and confidence in medical professionals is needed to encourage the implementation of nutrition therapy in prevention and treatment of health outcomes. Conclusions A sustained focus on producing quality nutrition research must be coupled with increased efforts in collaboration and building of knowledge networks, including educating and training multidisciplinary health and medical professionals in nutrition. Such efforts are needed to ensure nutrition is both reliable in its messaging and effective in translation into healthcare.