Detection methods are the first tools used by national plant protection organisations (NPPO) and inspection services in order to find incursions of quarantine plant pathogens or pests (Q-pests) across a border, a crucial step to implement Council Directive 2000/29/EC. This is often done visually in the first instance, with support from a laboratory for confirmatory testing and subsequent monitoring. Reliance on laboratory testing causes significant delays when action is only taken on the return of results from the laboratory to which the samples were sent. Thus, there is a real need for rapid, simple and robust detection methods that can be deployed by NPPOs in the field with inspection services to enable early detection of Q-pests. The Q-detect consortium aims to develop detection methods based on biochemical (detecting volatile organic compounds [VOC] and nucleic acid), acoustic (including resonance), remote imaging (incorporating spectral and automated data analysis) and pest trapping (insect pests and pathogen vectors) techniques. The careful selection of traded products (primarily potato and forestry/trees) ensures the methods will be developed on high priority targets for the EU such as the pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), potato brown rot (Ralstonia solanacearum) and potato ring rot (Clavibacter michiganensis ssp. Sepedonicus), Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) and a range of whitefly transmitted viruses. The diversity of targets enables the Q-detect consortium to work on suites of complementary techniques; this is of particular importance since the diverse range of targets listed in Directive 2000/29/EC means no single detection method will be suitable for all Q-pests. Critically, NPPOs and third country institutes are partners, which will enable testing, and validation of methods at real outbreak sites where these are absent in the EU. SME partners ensure access to technology and routes for exploitation after the project ends.