Surgical robots are poised to significantly alter the healthcare landscape, with expansion of the field of robotics increasingly permeating health systems. Lessons from the past showcase the harms of innovating without evaluating, and as the diffusion of surgical robots increases, thoughtful and robust evaluation methods must be established. Surgical robots present novel challenges for evaluation. ‘This paper is an important milestone in the maturation of surgical robotics research, bringing key perspectives together to improve how surgical robots are evaluated,’ said Professor McCulloch. The full paper ‘The IDEAL framework for surgical robotics: development, comparative evaluation and long-term monitoring’ is published in Nature Medicine.