The 'Research for local action towards sustainable human settlements' (RELAY) project worked to establish an international forum for discussing how research and its outcomes can benefit local implementation of policies and practices for urban sustainable development. The EU-funded project realised this primarily through the organisation of an international conference that brought together experts on sustainable management, planning and governance; land-use planning; and housing and construction. The overall aim was to coordinate an international exchange facilitating local policy implementation of relevant research results. The conference, as the project's core activity, supported the development of mutual understanding between researchers and local actors in order to design cooperation models that can above all improve urban sustainable development and human settlements. One of the recommendations presented by project partners was the need to strengthen communication between the academic and government sectors so as to build mutual trust and facilitate improved collaboration. Such an achievement, however, depends on making available adequate pre-conditions for research. Research results should be easily understandable and accessible for local governments, which should become involved in all stages of the research process. Such involvement will ensure the relevance of research outcomes for their policies and practices. RELAY's recommendations were widely distributed to target groups and beyond in the hopes of better design and implementation of future research programmes. Team members expect the outcomes of their work to contribute to improved sustainability conditions at local level.