Successful cooperation between development researchers and development policy makers and practitioners translates into better development policies, projects and programmes. Research is relevant if it can provide meaningful input for the practitioners. At the same time, practitioners have to be willing and able to use these findings to improve their work. Through continuous communication, evaluation and feedback cycles both parties should be able to gain additional insights and improve future outcomes. But how close is reality to this ideal state of collaboration between theory and practice? Development researchers are often said to be working in ivory towers – doing research for the sake of publications with results that are hardly relevant or applicable in practice. But is this necessarily so and is it the only reason for the lack of cooperation between research and practice? What role do personal communication, time horizons and the researchers’ fear of losing their academic reputation play?