The sharp rise of bovine tuberculosis (TB) in Great Britain and the continuing problem of wild life reservoirs in countries such as New Zealand and Great Britain have resulted in increased research efforts into the disease. Two of the goals of this research are to develop (1) cattle vaccines against TB and (2) associated diagnostic reagents that can differentiate between vaccinated and infected animals (differential diagnosis). This review summarises recent progress and describes efforts to increase the protective efficacy of the only potential TB vaccine currently available, Mycobacterium bovis BCG, and to develop specific reagents for differential diagnosis. Vaccination strategies based on DNA or protein subunit vaccination, vaccination with live viral vectors as well as heterologous prime-boost scenarios are discussed. In addition, we outline results from studies aimed at developing diagnostic reagents to allow the distinction of vaccinated from infected animals, for example antigens that are not expressed by vaccines like Mycobacterium bovis Bacille-Calmette-Guérin, but recognised strongly in Mycobacterium bovis infected cattle.