Scientific study within contemporary zoos and aquariums has developed ad hoc as an extremely broad, academically oriented mixture of basic and applied research spanning a wide array of concepts and disciplines. Several papers have considered prioritization of present or future research efforts within disciplines, but only a few have touched on prioritization across institutions, disciplines, and species. This lack of prioritization across institutions and disciplines is surprising given the growing interdependence of zoos and aquariums to maintain populations through exchange of animals, standardization of animal care procedures, and maintenance of self-sustaining populations. The purpose of this paper is to explore prioritization of scientific research, and support of that prioritized research, within and among the professionally managed zoo and aquarium members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Zoo Biol 27:488–497, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.