The plenary lectures from the 16th World Congress on Ergonomics, Maastricht, July 10-14, 2006, have been documented in this special issue. Its theme was ‘Meeting Diversity'. The contributions, ranging from scientific papers to technical notes or short statements, cover different aspects of the central subject: ergonomic diversity in people, work, physical loading, goals and participants. They show new trends and developments. Such as the rol of ergonomics in modern multi-cultural and ageing societies. Furthermore, the impact of the IT revolution where the focus of ergonomics would shift from adapting equipment, work places and tasks to human capabilities, to cognitive systems integration, the development of symbiotic technologies and finally to the biological enhancement of physical or cognitive capabilities. New is also the ergonomic challenge to design interventions that simultaneously increase the efficiency and promote the well-being of workers. Automation and mechanization result in work activity patterns that are characterized by repetitive, monotonous activities. This light work requires another approach, mainly focusing on the time patterns of the load (e.g. variations, pause schemes, work duration, work pace and so on). It is necessary therefore, to increase the understanding of time aspects and of the effectiveness of practical interventions in these time patterns. Finally, closing the gap between practitioners and researchers remains a challenge.