Water-soluble polymers and hydrogels play a crucial role in contemporary polymer science. There are several promising applications proposed for these materials, especially in the biomedical field. Thus, applications like drug-delivery, sensing or tissue engineering are in the focus of research. In his presentation, Bernhard Schmidt will give an overview of the recent developments of his research group regarding polymers in aqueous environment. A particular focus will be given to aqueous multi-phase systems, water-in-water emulsions and reinforced carbon nitride-derived hydrogels.