Recent advances in vacuum sciences and applications are reviewed. Novel optical interferometer cavity devices enable pressure measurements with ppm accuracy. The innovative dynamic vacuum standard allows for pressure measurements with temporal resolution of 2 ms. Vacuum issues in the construction of huge ultra-high vacuum devices worldwide are reviewed. Recent advances in surface science and thin films include new phenomena observed in electron transport near solid surfaces as well as novel results on the properties of carbon nanomaterials. Precise techniques for surface and thin-film characterization have been applied in the conservation technology of cultural heritage objects and recent advances in the characterization of biointerfaces are presented. The combination of various vacuum and atmospheric-pressure techniques enables an insight into the complex phenomena of protein and other biomolecule conformations on solid surfaces. Studying these phenomena at solid-liquid interfaces is regarded as the main issue in the development of alternative techniques for drug delivery, tissue engineering and thus the development of innovative techniques for curing cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A review on recent advances in plasma medicine is presented as well as novel hypotheses on cell apoptosis upon treatment with gaseous plasma. Finally, recent advances in plasma nanoscience are illustrated with several examples and a roadmap for future activities is presented.