The commercial realisation of compact fusion reactors, including the spherical tokamak, relies on the development of radiation shielding materials with unprecedented efficiency. The carbides and borides of tungsten prove to have outstanding performance, however several scientific and engineering challenges must be overcome for them to be employed, which this talk will address. First, work to fabricate and characterise the structure-property relationships of fully dense monolithic ceramics is reviewed, with an emphasis on delineating the effects of grain size and porosity. Second, the design of composite structures that can (a) be processed at scale (b) have enhanced thermal and mechanical properties; and (c) enable enhanced radiation damage tolerance, are put forward and evaluated. Finally, the degradation of these composites in extreme thermal and radiation environments are discussed. The result is a material with enhanced properties and a low temperature synthesis route that offers a viable route towards adoption at scale.