The young and international team of the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung conducts advanced basic materials research related to the fields of mobility, energy, infrastructure, medicine and information. We focus on nanostructured metallic materials as well as semiconductors and analyse them experimentally and theoretically down to their atomic and electronic scales. This enables us to develop new, tailor-made structural and functional materials embracing their synthesis and processing, characterization and properties, as well as their response in engineering components exposed to real operating environments. Our research is highly interdisciplinary with intensive cooperation between experimentalists and theoreticians within the institute as well as worldwide. The basic budget of the institute comes from the Max Planck Society (MPG) and partly from the Steel Institute VDEh. This public-private partnership is unique within the MPG and the European industry and enables up-to-date basic research with a high application relevance.