Training and development, as one sector of lifelong education, plays an important role in the development of people and organizations. But in spite of its importance we have only a limited understanding of the interrelations of all the issues that have been raised in this sector during the past decades. This is partly due to the fact that there is only limited agreement on the research agenda for training and development of human resources in organizations. In this article we present both an approach to establish a set of priorities for such a comprehensive research agenda, and a proposal for such an agenda for research on training and development in business and industry. Preliminary results of a survey, content analysis, trainers’ inventory, trends analysis and case studies were documented into a consultation document that was offered to a nominal group of 21 policy makers, training managers and other training practitioners. This group analysed a research proposal consisting of analytical propositions and accompanying candidate research questions. Three classes of research questions are distinguished: strategic, applied and fundamental. Within these categories 26 of the 35 stated research questions appeared to be of high priority. The remaining nine research questions are rated as of intermediate importance. None of the questions appeared to be considered irrelevant. We conclude this article by pointing out the most promising research areas in the field of training and development in business and industry by comparing our findings with those of Alden (1982): the contribution of training and development to organizational effectiveness, the access and mobility of people from target groups in the organization, cost‐effectiveness of alternative approaches, the integration of training and development in human resource planning, success and failure factors in HRD interventions, labour relations in relation to training and development, and the impact of training and development on management development. We join Dopyera and Lay‐Dopyera (1985) in calling for more experimental and quasi‐experimental research, to produce knowledge about a series of causal relationships. This requires the availability of valid indicators of effectiveness of training and development interventions.