Global challenges such as climate change, food security and human health and wellbeing disproportionately impact people from low-income countries. These challenges are complex and require an international and transdisciplinary approach to research, with research skills and expertise from different disciplines, sectors, and regions. In addressing this, a key goal of the research project, Blue Communities, was to create and expand mutual interdisciplinary capacity of both United Kingdom and Southeast Asian Partners. An existing questionnaire on research capacity was uniquely adapted to include interdisciplinary and international aspects and distributed for the first time as an online survey to the participants of the Blue Communities project comprising researchers across all career stages. Participants were asked about their perceptions of the research capacity and culture of their organisation, team and self and whether they believed any aspects have changed since involvement with the project. Greatest improvement was seen at the self level where results indicated a positive relationship between an individual’s current success or skill and their improvement over the course of the research project across 18 out of 22 aspects of research capacity for Southeast Asian, and 2 for UK respondents. The conflict between achieving research aims, building research capacity and making societal impact was evident. Institutional support is required to value these core aspects of interdisciplinary research.