Science and technology teachers must learn to work together if pupil performance is to be boosted in both subjects, according to a report for the Engineering Council.
Cross-curricular projects have failed to bring teachers together because the national curriculum encourages staff to think only of their own subject, the council concluded.
However, while departments should collaborate they must not integrate, argues the council.
Scientific knowledge must inform design decisions while technology can be used to enhance scientific understanding, said the report's authors, David Barlex of Brunel University and ames Pitt of York University.
Dr Barlex said: "The two subjects have a lot of common ground: science expects pupils to picture things they cannot see - such as atoms and forces - but design and technology asks them to imagine things that do not exist yet.
"This sort of mental modelling is an area where teachers can collaborate."
The Engineering Council calls on government and professional associations to support a programme of "bottom-up" training for teachers which will allow enthusiasts to develop new ways of working together.
David Barlex and James Pitt's report, entitled "Interaction: the relationship between science and design and
technology in the secondary school
curriculum" is available free from the Engineering Council. Telephone 020 7240 7891.