In current particle physics experiments, silicon strip detectors are widely used as part of the inner tracking layers. A foreseeable large-scale application for such detectors consists of the luminosity upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the super-LHC or sLHC, where silicon detectors with extreme radiation hardness are required. The mission statement of the CERN RD50 Collaboration is the development of radiation-hard semiconductor devices for very high luminosity colliders. As a consequence, the aim of the R&D programme presented in this article is to develop silicon particle detectors able to operate at sLHC conditions. Research has progressed in different areas, such as defect characterisation, defect engineering and full detector systems. Recent results from these areas will be presented. This includes in particular an improved understanding of the macroscopic changes of the effective doping concentration based on identification of the individual microscopic defects, results from irradiation with a mix of different particle types as expected for the sLHC, and the observation of charge multiplication effects in heavily irradiated detectors at very high bias voltages. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.