Childhood pneumonia and diarrhoeal disease cause almost half of all child deaths globally. Effective interventions against these conditions are available and could prevent about two-thirds of these deaths. We argue that part of the reason for the lack of success in delivering these interventions is the lack of attention to implementation challenges. We present a novel research priority setting model that shifts the emphasis from generation of new knowledge and publication to potential public-health outcomes, and propose a framework by which this new model can be put into operation. We believe that only in this way will proper attention be given to delivery of proven interventions to reduce the high childhood mortality caused by pneumonia and diarrhoea.