The 5th International Conference on Advanced Vibrational Spectroscopy (ICAVS-5) took place in the conference centre of the Sebeland Citigate Hotel beside Albert Park, Melbourne during the week of July 12th to July 19th, 2009. ICAVS-5 also incorporated the 8th Australian Conference on Vibrational Spectroscopy (ACOVS8) and a Royal Australian Institute of Chemistry (RACI) workshop. ICAVS is the leading broad based vibrational spectroscopy meeting in the world and attracted participants from every corner of the globe with the strongest contingents from Europe and Asia and a healthy number from Australia. The conference brought together scientists specializing in the development of theory and techniques in Raman, infrared and inelastic neutron scattering spectroscopy, and gave delegates the opportunity to interact with others well beyond their individual specializations. The ICAVS series is held every 2 years to review the latest research and advances in the application and development of all types of vibrational spectroscopy. The scope of the meeting ranges from fundamental theoretical, computational and spectroscopic studies to recent advances and novel developments in instrumentation, characterization and analysis. 251 people from 31 countries participated in ICAVS-5 with 10 plenary lectures, 29 invited lectures, 46 oral contributions and 197 posters presented. During ICAVS-5, an instrument exhibition took place with the following companies exhibiting: Analytical Technologies, Bruker Optik GmbH, Biotools Inc., Thermo Scientific, Renishaw, Lastek, Camo, Varian, Wiley, Witec, Newspec, KSV, Nima Technologies, Warsash Scientific, Perkin Elmer, Scitech and the Australian Synchrotron. Well attended workshops focusing on synchrotron infrared spectroscopy, vibrational spectroscopy in security, and IR imaging were held on 11th July and a number of delegates visited the Australian Synchrotron and the factory of Varian Australia mid-week. In addition to the scientific program we organized social events that allowed the participants to explore the vineyards of the Yarra Valley, Australian Fauna at the Healesville sanctuary, the history and ambience of Victoria’s Government House and Melbourne culture at the National Gallery of Victoria.