A major challenge within the field of advanced materials is how to understand and then control the mechanisms that create defined bulk properties of a material from its microscopic constituents. This is already a complex problem when even a single property needs to be created. It is much more challenging when multiple properties are required simultaneously. For example, in creating materials that are both biocompatible and strongly antimicrobial. However, it is precisely these types of multi-functional smart materials that we see as important in underpinning the next generation of healthcare technologies. Accordingly, we concentrate our efforts on addressing the problem of how to create bulk multifunctional materials from microscopic constituents. There are wide-ranging potential benefits in being able to design materials with tailored properties and functions (the “invisible revolution”), which can add new functionalities to existing materials and create completely novel products. For example, innovative sensing systems or analytical technologies are predicted to have a transformative impact in healthcare and these will be enabled by materials whose function is to sense molecular targets that can be therapeutic drugs or biochemical markers.