Introduction Like many of the biological sciences, nutrition has rapidly become a science which relies heavily on data collection, analysis and presentation. Knowledge gaps exist where data does not, and so the fifth annual International Summit on Medical and Public Health Nutrition Education and Research was held to address the theme of 'Closing the Gap: Data-based Decisions in Food, Nutrition and Health Systems'. Setting Homerton College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge in July 2019. Key findings Data-driven decision making is more likely to lead to positive change in areas such as malnutrition, food insecurity and food production. These decisions must be informed by multiple stakeholders from various backgrounds in multisectorial collaboration. Case examples presented at the Summit contribute to the International Knowledge Application Network in Nutrition 2025, which aims to help identify and close gaps in nutrition and healthcare. Conclusions Formation of international networks are required to advance nutrition research, identify gaps and generate high-quality data. These data can be used to adequately train healthcare professionals resulting in positive impact on clinical and public health. Strengthening collaboration between existing networks will be essential in sharing data for better health outcomes.