Delivery of safe quality care in health is augmented by better research capacity building. This can include financial investment in research and system development, and, mostly notably, human capacity to undertake research. Establishing capacity to undertake research warrants attention to a range of activities to build and sustain health professions' impact on health outcomes. This editorial reflects on burns and mental health care to identify challenges for capacity building. These challenges range from resource restrictions, organisational culture and identification of enablers to assess broader health impact. Strategies to promote capacity building for practice include harmonisation of international standards, financial resourcing to build research capacity in low and middle-income countries, effectively implemented and monitored training, any involvement of multiple perspectives in design and delivery.