Many National Tuberculosis Programmes (NTPs) receive Technical Assistance (TA) for the implementation and evaluation of their TB-control strategies. KNCV tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV) in the Netherlands is a TA organization providing assistance for many years in over 30 countries. The NTPs use their own surveillance data to assess TB control strategies. These data are not accurate enough to serve as valid epidemiological parameters. KNCV adds an epidemiological research component to the general TA. Epidemiological research does give the evidence-base needed for TB control. Embedding this research in continued programme support from TA consultants has been fruitful. This paper details KNCV's experiences with such TA plus epidemiological research approach, specially in conducting large-scale population-based surveys: tuberculin surveys, TB prevalence surveys, and drug resistance surveys. The lessons learned include the added value of long-term programme support, of a thorough knowledge of the survey's situational context, of in-country capacity building, and of guidelines for guiding, as opposed to dictating, research. © van Leth and Klinkenberg; Licensee Bentham Open.