The Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) developed from the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Nanoscale Science” and constitutes a priority program of the University of Basel. The NCCRs in Switzerland were designed to foster interdisciplinary and innovative projects of the highest quality. And at the same time, the initiative aims to promote the concentration of energy and improved division of work among the Swiss universities. The SNI activities combine basic science with application-orientated research. In various projects researchers focus on nanoscale structures and aim at providing new impact and ideas to the life sciences, to the sustainable use of resources, and to information and communication technologies.