SXR2023 brings together young and experienced scientists to discuss recent scientific highlights, trends, and current advances with soft X-ray spectroscopy. Our goal is to further understanding on the atomic level. The impetus is to influence and ideally shape functionality in materials and molecular systems. In this effort, scientists cross intentionally the boundaries between physics, chemistry and materials and focus on the unifying aspects of functionality. Insights to the governing principles are often based on the combination of experiment with first principles theory and models. Thus, a profound description of X-ray matter interaction — creating the spectroscopic observables — is always underlying.