Information from research has an important role to play in shaping policy and management responses to biological invasions but concern has been raised that research focuses more on furthering knowledge than on delivering practical solutions. We collated 449 priority areas for science and management from 160 stakeholders including practitioners, researchers and policy makers or advisors working with invasive species, and then compared them to the topics of 789 papers published in eight journals over the same time period (2009–2010). Whilst research papers addressed most of the priority areas identified by stakeholders, there was a difference in geographic and biological scales between the two, with individual studies addressing multiple priority areas but focusing on specific species and locations. We hypothesise that this difference in focal scales, combined with a lack of literature relating directly to management, contributes to the perception that invasive species research is not sufficiently geared towards delivering practical solutions. By emphasising the practical applications of applied research, and ensuring that pure research is translated or synthesised so that the implications are better understood, both the management of invasive species and the theoretical science of invasion biology can be enhanced.