We report a review on our recent developments in Yttebium and Neodymium doped laser ceramics, along two main research lines. The first is the design and development of Yb:YAG ceramics with non uniform doping distribution, for the management of thermo-mechanical stresses and for the mitigation of ASE: layered structures have been produced by solid state reactive sintering, using different forming processes (spray drying and cold press of the homogenized powders, tape cast of the slurry); samples have been characterized and compared to FEM analysis. The second is the investigation of Lutetium based ceramics (such as mixed garnets LuYAG and Lu2O3); this interest is mainly motivated by the favorable thermal properties of these hosts under high doping. We recently obtained for the first time high efficiency laser emission from Yb doped LuYAG ceramics. The investigation on sesquioxides has been focused on Nddoped Lu2O3 ceramics, fabricated with the Spark Plasma Sintering method (SPS). We recently achieved the first laser emission above 1 W from Nd doped Lu2O3 ceramics fabricated by SPS.