The British Occupational Hygiene Society, in collaboration with the Institute of Occupational Medicine, the University of Manchester, the UK Health and Safety Executive, and the University of Aberdeen hosted the 7th International Conference on the Science of Exposure Assessment (X2012) on 2 July5 July 2012 in Edinburgh, UK. The conference ended with a special session at which invited speakers from government, industry, independent research institutes, and academia were asked to reflect on the conference and discuss what may now constitute the important highlights or drivers of future exposure assessment research. This article summarizes these discussions with respect to current and future technical and methodological developments. For the exposure science community to continue to have an impact in protecting public health, additional efforts need to be made to improve partnerships and cross-disciplinary collaborations, although it is equally important to ensure that the traditional occupational exposure themes are still covered as these issues are becoming increasingly important in the developing world. To facilitate this the 'X' conferences should continue to retain a holistic approach to occupational and non-occupational exposures and should actively pursue collaborations with other disciplines and professional organizations to increase the presence of consumer and environmental exposure scientists. © 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.