Transforming care for frail older adults requires more than rigorous research. While preventing, identifying and managing frailty are critical to reducing the personal and health systems impact of frailty worldwide, collaborative approaches to research and research application that reflect stakeholder perspectives and priorities are necessary to create meaningful solutions to frailty-related challenges. In South Australia, a new Centre for Research Excellence in Frailty was recently launched with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia. Comprised of a national team with international partnerships and expertise spanning geriatric medicine, nursing, general practice, health economics, pharmacy and rehabilitation medicine, the team is working across traditional disciplinary silos to achieve system level improvements. Drawing from this exemplar, we discuss how a co-design approach to knowledge translation underpins this transdisciplinary research, and how successfully restructuring health services to meet the physical, emotional and social needs of older adults hinges upon such collaboration.