Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Cardiovascular research has therefore never been more crucial. Cardiovascular researchers must be provided with a research environment that enables them to perform at their highest level, maximizing their opportunities to work effectively with key stakeholders to address this global issue. At present, cardiovascular researchers face a range of challenges and barriers, including a decline in funding, job insecurity and a lack of diversity at senior leadership levels. Indeed, many cardiovascular researchers, particularly women, have considered leaving the sector, highlighting a crucial need to develop strategies to support and retain researchers working in the cardiovascular field. In this Roadmap article, we present solutions to problems relevant to cardiovascular researchers worldwide that are broadly classified across three key areas: capacity building, research funding and fostering diversity and equity. This Roadmap provides opportunities for research institutions, as well as governments and funding bodies, to implement changes from policy to practice, to address the most important factors restricting the career progression of cardiovascular researchers.