In this paper we discuss innovations in concrete technology which are currently being applied in the field-namely high and ultra high performance (strength), and self consolidating concrete. We discuss the factors which have enabled these developments and ongoing needs in these areas. The importance of sustainability as the major driver for future innovations and prospects for development of new cementitious materials with lower environmental impact is briefly discussed. Finally the importance of innovation in research is examined. The dramatic development in experimental and computational techniques over recent years opens up wide-ranging possibilities for understanding the micro- and nano- scale chemical and physical processes which underlie performance at a macroscopic level. The example of computational approaches at the atomic and molecular scale is presented in detail. In order to exploit the opportunities presented by such new techniques, there needs to be greater efforts to structure interdisciplinary, multi-group research. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.