Baroness Blackstone, minister for further and higher education, promised a key role for research in post-16 policy and decision-making in a recent speech to the Learning and Skills Development Agency.
But Kathryn Ecclestone, visiting research fellow at City and Guilds, says it will fal if left to the whims of universities - where post-16 research is too "fragmented" and lacks status.
College-based research depends largely on the commitment of individual principals and teachers on casual contracts working many hours.
However, in a viewpoint today on the web (www.tesfefocus.co.uk), Dr Ecclestone says hundreds of teachers, trainers and managers carry-out excellent research that is never used. She calls for a clear research strategy from the Learning and Skills Council.