Abstract A shift in the culture and practice of health and development research is required to maximise the real-world use of evidence by non-academic or non-research-oriented audiences. Many frameworks have been developed to guide and measure the research utilisation process, yet none have been widely applied. Some frameworks are simplified to an unrealistic linear representation while others are rendered overly complex and unusable in an attempt to capture all aspects of the research utilisation process. Additionally, many research utilisation frameworks have focused on the policy development process or within a clinical setting, with less application of the translation process at the programme level. In response to this gap – and drawing from over a decade of experience implementing research utilisation strategies – we developed a simple, four-phase framework to guide global health and development efforts that seek to apply evidence to policies and programmes. We present a detailed description of each phase in our framework, with examples of its relevance and application illustrated through our own case study experiences in global health. We believe the utility of this framework extends beyond the health sector and is relevant for maximising use of evidence to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.