Forensic science is increasingly used in civil and criminal investigations and court proceedings. Over the past decade there has been a marked increase in the number of large collaborative and interagency research projects looking at the effectiveness of forensic science. Whether these large inter- agency projects will be successful is based on two fundamentals: whether the research produces quality outputs and, more importantly, whether the outputs match the expectations of research partners and stakeholders. We discuss the importance of understanding what partners and stakeholders expect and need from projects in which they invest. We explored expectations in a large Australian project assessing ‘The Effectiveness of Forensic Science in the Criminal Justice System’. This collaboration is between two Australian police forces, the National Institute of Forensic Science, and three Australian and one European university. We found that the way stakeholders interpreted the title of the project influenced the direction they wanted the research to take and what outcomes/outputs they expected. We found five different research directions and outcomes/outputs expectations. We suggest that to avoid disappointment, stakeholders should voice their expectations and explicitly define their needs. Since expectations are rarely static, it makes sense to revisit expectations of stakeholders throughout projects.