We propose that translational research needs to venture out of its comfort zone and become more interdisciplinary. Physicians, pharmacists, statisticians, computational biologists, social scientists and others from academia, health care and industry should be working hand in hand.

Our interdisciplinary translational research group (see go.nature.com/sgdrga), part of an association of research-intensive European institutions in the life sciences called EU-LIFE, aims to foster a continuous cycle from basic to clinical research and back.

To ensure the success of interdisciplinary translational-research programmes, we suggest that each partner should verse the next generation of basic and clinical scientists in the programme's aims; that intellectual-property rights need to be formally stated and managed; that clinicians' research time should be protected; and that funding agencies should create sustainable funding opportunities for basic research that are informed by unmet medical needs.