Our understanding of the molecular basis of life has increased dramatically through recent technological breakthroughs in physics, chemistry, biology, computer science and systems analysis of massive data files. In the coming years, the Building Blocks of Life program will integrate this knowledge to facilitate a decisive step in the fundamental understanding of the molecular building blocks comprising cellular systems and new application perspectives. Challenging innovations can be foreseen in many key areas: health care (e.g. personalized medicine), qualitatively and quantitatively improved food supply, sustainable crop production, hybrid techno-biological systems, new materials and intelligent robots based on neural networks, and organisms working under extreme circumstances. These innovations are crucial for the Dutch economic potential and address important social issues. Emphasis will also be placed on the social impact and ethical reflection.