In October 2006, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of England asked Professor Sir John Tooke to chair a High Level Group on Clinical Effectiveness in response to the chapter 'Waste not, want not' in the CMOs 2005 annual report 'On the State of the Public Health'. The high level group made recommendations to the CMO to address possible ways forward to improve clinical effectiveness in the uk National Health Service (NHS) and promote clinical engagement to deliver this. The report contained a short section on research needs that emerged from the process of writing the report, but in order to more fully identify the relevant research agenda Professor Sir John Tooke asked Professor Martin Eccles to convene an expert group - the Clinical Effectiveness Research Agenda Group (CERAG) - to define the research agenda. The CERAG's terms of reference were 'to further elaborate the research agenda in relation to pursuing clinically effective practice within the (uk) National Health Service'. This editorial presents the summary of the CERAG report and recommendations.