In 2004, the RME conference series started as ‘Rapid Methods Europe’. During the years, RME has strengthened its position as an important meeting point for academia and industry providing a reference source for anyone interested in the developments in the shift from slower, traditional measurements to more rapid detection of biological and chemical contaminants. The term ‘rapid’ is used variously in discussions of rapid methodology and instrumentation. It should be noted that ‘rapid’ is not a goal in itself. In addition to increased speed, rapid methods must also take account of other criteria such as sampling and sample preparation, multitarget screening, lower detection limits, accuracy and sensitivity, data analysis, total costs proportionate to the benefits, etc., eventually leading to methods best suited for use.