Well-defined correlates of protective immunity are an essential component of rational vaccine development. Despite years of basic science and three HIV vaccine efficacy trials, correlates of immunological protection from HIV infection remain undefined. In December 2010, a meeting of scientists engaged in basic and translational work toward developing HIV-1 vaccines was convened. The goal of this meeting was to discuss current opportunities and optimal approaches for defining correlates of protection, both for ongoing and future HIV-1 vaccine candidates; specific efforts were made to engage young scientists. We discuss here the highlights from the meeting regarding the progress made and the way forward for a protective HIV-1 vaccine.