Vaccines are among the greatest successes in the history of public health. However, past strategies for vaccine development are unlikely to succeed in the future against major global diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. For such diseases, the correlates of protection are poorly defined and the pathogens evade immune detection and/or exhibit extensive genetic variability. Recent advances have heralded in a new era of vaccine discovery. However, translation of these advances into vaccines remains impeded by lack of understanding of key vaccinology principles in humans. We review these advances toward vaccine discovery and suggest that for accelerating successful vaccine development, new human immunology-based clinical research initiatives be implemented with the goal of elucidating and more effectively generating vaccine-induced protective immune responses.