Since university research on mass transfer columns has decreased significantly in recent years, it is discussed whether the current knowledge of mass transfer technology for trays, packing materials, and column internals is sufficient to design energy- and cost-efficient systems. Points of view are described that have not yet been clarified from an industrial position and should play an important role in future research. In addition to the thermodynamics of industrially relevant systems, an improved description of the fluid dynamics and mass transfer efficiency in trayed and packed columns is included. Research should focus beyond ideal test mixtures which employ standardized test equipments and test systems. Industrial parameters such as foams and solids as well as chemical and catalytic mass transfer are also of great interest.