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In this paper, the significance of application-oriented fundamental research on concrete and reinforced concrete structures for progress regarding practical applications to structural design is addressed based on four examples. They were treated in a joint research project of Vienna University of Technology and Tongji University. The first topic refers to sudden heating or cooling of concrete structures, the second one to high-dynamic strength of specimens made of cementitious materials, the third one to structural analysis of segmental tunnel rings used in mechanized tunneling, and the fourth one to serviceability and ultimate limit states of concrete hinges used in integral bridge construction. The first two topics deal with exceptional load cases. Results from the fundamental research call for improvements of state-of-the-art simulation approaches used in civil engineering design. The last two topics refer to reinforced concrete hinges used in mechanized tunneling and integral bridge construction, respectively. Integrative research has led to progress regarding the verification of serviceability and ultimate limit states. In all four examples, results from fundamental research are used to scrutinize state-of-the-art approaches used in practical structural design of civil engineering structures. This allows for identifying interesting directions for the future development of design guidelines and standards.