Ionizing radiation is a peculiar perturbation when it comes to damage to biological systems: it proceeds through discrete energy depositions, over a short temporal scale and a spatial scale critical for subcellular targets as DNA, whose damage complexity determines the outcome of the exposure. This lies at the basis of the success of track structure (and nanodosimetry) and microdosimetry in radiation biology. However, such reductionist approaches cannot account for the complex network of interactions regulating the overall response of the system to radiation, particularly when effects are manifest at the supracellular level and involve long times. Systems radiation biology is increasingly gaining ground, but the gap between reductionist and holistic approaches is becoming larger. This paper presents considerations on what roles track structure and microdosimetry can have in the attempt to fill this gap, and on how they can be further exploited to interpret radiobiological data and inform systemic approaches.