The unique value of ionizing radiation for the initiation of grafting to backbone polymers is discussed. The principles of the technique are briefly reviewed. The conditions under which free radicals and ions participate in these reactions are examined. Examples of representative grafting processes are considered to illustrate where the technique can be of potential commercial value to a wide range of industries. The general principles of these grafting reactions are shown to be applicable to radiation induced rapid cure technology such as is provided by electron beam processing facilities. Grafting reactions initiated by UV are also treated and shown to be of importance because of the many similarities in properties of the ionizing radiation and UV systems, also the rapid industrial exploitation of EB and sensitized UV processing technology. Possible future trends in radiation grafting are outlined.