The discovery that extracellular vesicles (EVs) can transfer functional extracellular RNAs (exRNAs) between cells opened new avenues into the study of EVs in health and disease. Growing interest in EV RNAs and other forms of exRNA has given rise to research programmes including but not limited to the Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium (ERCC) of the US National Institutes of Health. In 2017, the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) administered a survey focusing on EVs and exRNA to canvass-related views and perceived needs of the EV research community. Here, we report the results of this survey. Overall, respondents emphasized opportunities for technical developments, unraveling of molecular mechanisms and standardization of methodologies to increase understanding of the important roles of exRNAs in the broader context of EV science. In conclusion, although exRNA biology is a relatively recent emphasis in the EV field, it has driven considerable interest and resource commitment. The ISEV community looks forward to continuing developments in the science of exRNA and EVs, but without excluding other important molecular constituents of EVs.