Malnutrition in an obese world was the fitting title of the 13th Federation of European Nutrition Societies (FENS) conference held in October 2019. Many individuals do not eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and this is now understood to be a major driver of increased disease risk and illness. Moreover, both our current eating patterns and the food system as a whole are environmentally unsustainable, threatening the planetary systems we depend on for survival. As we attempt to feed a growing global population, food systems will increasingly be confronted with their environmental impacts, with the added challenge of climate change-induced threats to food production. As we move into the third decade of the twenty-first century, these challenges demand that the nutrition research community reconsider its scope, concepts, methods, and societal role. At a pre-meeting workshop held at the FENS conference, over 70 researchers active in the field explored ways to advance the discipline’s capacity to address cross-cutting issues of personal, public and planetary health. Using the world cafe method, four themed discussion tables explored (a) the breadth of scientific domains needed to meet the current challenges, (b) the nature and definition of the shifting concepts in nutrition sciences, (c) the next-generation methods required and (d) communication and organisational challenges and opportunities. As a follow-up to earlier work , here we report the highlights of the discussions, and propose the next steps to advance responsible research and innovation in the domain of nutritional science.