Biomaterials have made a great impact on medicine. However, numerous challenges remain. This paper discusses three representative areas involving important medical problems. First, drug delivery systems; major considerations include drug-polymer interactions, drug transformation, diffusion properties of drugs and, if degradation occurs, of polymer degradation products through polymer matrices developing a more complete understanding of matrix degradation in the case of erodible polymers and developing new engineered polymers designed for specific purposes such as vaccination or pulsatile release. Second, cell-polymer interactions, including the fate of inert polymers, the use of polymers as templates for tissue regeneration and the study of polymers which aid cell transplantation. Third, orthopaedic biomaterials, including basic research in the behaviour of chondrocytes, osteocytes and connective tissue-free interfaces and applied research involving computer-aided design of biomaterials and the creation of orthopaedic biomaterials.