The last decade has seen a rapid proliferation of climate change adaptation research resulting in a broad theoretical and conceptual understanding of adaptation. However, significant gaps still exist in applying these theoretical frameworks and tools in policy and practice. There is also little agreement on which methods and frameworks are truly robust, while many developing countries lack access to key literature and data. Several issues are especially relevant for early career researchers and practitioners. These include working in an area of science that crosses disciplinary boundaries, improving the quality of and capacity to undertake adaptation research, and equity and ethics. We elaborate on these themes based on our experiences as early career adaptation researchers working in developed and developing countries. We also identify several support mechanisms required to enable early career researchers to advance their engagement with the climate change adaptation agenda.