In the face of compounding global challenges and the pressing and ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the need for evidence-based policy making informed by rigorous scientific research has never been greater. It is in this context that a consortium of research institutes, think tanks, governmental bodies and international organizations committed to strengthening International Geneva convened a two-day conference to explore the possibilities for improving research uptake in policy and decision making in the UN system. Drawing on Geneva’s rich landscape of research and policy institutions, the conference brought together key actors in a collaborative format to discuss the barriers to research uptake and identify possible pathways to a transformed science-policy interface.