Advances in the science of nuclear materials have been largely centered on structural materials in recent decades. However, properties and performance of the fissile material (the fuel) ultimately dictate the power output, cycle length, safety margin, and beyond design basis behavior of reactors. Recent advances in manufacturing of ceramic materials, composite structures, incorporation of in situ fabrication diagnostics have the potential to impact how nuclear fuels are designed, fabricated, qualified, and accepted from a quality assurance standpoint. The challenge for nuclear fuels researchers in the coming decade will be efficiently developing new concepts within the broader understanding of nuclear fuel performance and material response to irradiation. This talk will present a range of contemporary efforts in this area including near term opportunities. Finally, the crucial role that accelerated irradiation testing methods including modeling and simulation will play in understanding irradiation performance of these fuel concepts will be summarized.