Clinical research is vital to influence health outcomes and save lives in an infectious disease outbreak. To be effective, clinical research must be fast, flexible and integrated with the front line response. Globally, progress is being made to improve preparedness and deliver clinical research as a core part of outbreak response. However, there remain many challenges to rapid research deployment. This meeting examined bottlenecks to (rapid) deployment of clinical research in an infectious disease outbreak and what we can do to overcome them.