A Special Issue containing Proceedings from the 17th International Nitrogen Workshop has been published in the Journal of Agricultural Science. The conference, entitled ‘Innovations for sustainable use of nitrogen resources’, was held in Wexford, Ireland from 26th – 29th June 2012. It focused on innovations for sustainable use of N resources and covered new breakthroughs in science, knowledge transfer and management of N resources. There were a total of 31 oral papers and 196 posters from 804 authors in 31 countries across four continents. The Special Issue can be accessed here.