Abstract: There are increasing calls to deliver effective, equitable marine conservation – particularly in places where coastal communities are dependent on their natural resources for a range of benefits from cultural to economic. However, as a large NGO implementing conservation programs around the world, it is not always clear what are the best strategies and tools to implement to ensure sustainable and equitable outcomes in various contexts. We need evidence based-solutions on what works – and what doesn’t. And while there is an increasing evidence base, much of the existing evidence is scattered, outdated, or inaccessible behind paywalls and jargon -and are not practical or relevant for immediate conservation needs. Transdisciplinary science can help bridge the science – conservation gap, shaping research that directly informs conservation programs while also pushing boundaries to shape the future of conservation science and practice. However, despite good intentions, transdisciplinary science can be difficult to implement due to (1) misalignment of incentives (e.g. focus on impact factor metrics, donor driven agendas, or philanthropy ‘fads); (2) tradeoffs between speed and “rigor” (information needed now – comprehensive and systematic research approaches often lags behind decisions); (3) structural and cultural barriers ( e.g. disciplinary and institutional silos, jargon, lack of trust, gender/race issues); (4) Generality vs. context-specificity (e.g. differences in research needs to inform global strategies vs local projects). Here, we give an example of an ongoing transdisciplinary research partnership between NGOs and acadamia and how we have begun to navigate some of these issues. While much work has been done elsewhere on knowledge co-production and the science-policy-practice interface, here we will provide examples of how we work together to co-develop a research agenda –primarily focusing on coastal communities and area-based conservation to deliver more impactful, insightful science.