This article considers the role and position of fairly fundamental, long-term dairy research that is for the most part technology oriented. Such research is mainly aimed at providing the necessary background knowledge for developments in dairy manufacture. Good research of this kind needs integration of various disciplines with a thorough knowledge of the systems studied. This implies (i) specialization in the dairy field and (ii) cooperation between technologists and disciplinary scientists. Examples of some successful research programmes are discussed. It is concluded that such research remains essential because (i) the market continuously changes, ever posing new problems in process and product development; and (ii) the greatly enhanced possibilities of research into intricate systems like most foods allow far deeper studies to be made. Some problems concerning the organization of this kind of long-term and fairly advanced research are considered.