Academic research plays a key role in identifying new drug targets, including understanding target biology and links between targets and disease states. To lead to new drugs, however, research must progress from purely academic exploration to the initiation of efforts to identify and test a drug candidate in clinical trials, which are typically conducted by the biopharma industry. This transition can be facilitated by a timely focus on target assessment aspects such as target-related safety issues, druggability and assayability, as well as the potential for target modulation to achieve differentiation from established therapies. Here, we present recommendations from the GOT-IT working group, which have been designed to support academic scientists and funders of translational research in identifying and prioritizing target assessment activities and in defining a critical path to reach scientific goals as well as goals related to licensing, partnering with industry or initiating clinical development programmes. Based on sets of guiding questions for different areas of target assessment, the GOT-IT framework is intended to stimulate academic scientists' awareness of factors that make translational research more robust and efficient, and to facilitate academia-industry collaboration.