It has passed 8 months since the remarkable success of the XVIII edition of the International Sol-Gel Conference in Kyoto, Japan (Sol–Gel 2015). This biennial conference was organized by Prof. Kazuki Nakanishi, Prof. Hiromitsu Kozuka and Dr. Kazumi Kato from 6 to 11 of September, 2015. It attracted 372 participants from 31 countries worldwide. 2 keynote, 20 invited, 122 oral presentations, and 159 posters presented most-advanced and interesting outcomes from their research groups. Local organizing committee and the ISGS board, in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief and Springer, decided to publish 2 special issues of the Journal of Sol–Gel Science and Technology (JSST) with selected contributions from very large number of contributions presented at the Sol–Gel 2015 conference, including those from the 2015 Life Time Achievement awardee Prof. Clément Sanchez, the Ulrich award recipient Dr. Go Kawamura, several of invited lecturers and the best posters awardees. By highlighting these distinguished contributions, we hope that this special issue will give our readers an overview of the most important work presented during Sol–Gel 2015, illustrating the diversity of today’s sol–gel science and paving the way for its bright future. The first special issue will be published in June or July, and the second issue will be a few months later of the first issue. Please enjoy the high level contributions with fantastic and exciting memories at Kyoto. The special issues are also very nice references to catch up the latest research trends for those who could not attend the conference.