European Reference Networks

2019 call for membership to the existing European Reference Networks (ERNs)

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30 September - 30 November 2019

The first call for new members to join existing 24 ERNs is open until 30 November 2019. Please read carefully the content of this website before entering the application tool.

How to apply to become a member of an ERN?

The membership application process will involve several steps:

  • Review the information that is included on the Commission webpage related to the European Reference Networks and the applicable legislation  
  • Contact your national representatives in the ERN Board of MS. They will  provide you with more specific information on the national endorsement process
  • Fill in the application and self-assessment in the online tool
  • Include all required documents that are specified in the online tool and described in the assessment manual, which include the following:
    • Letter of Endorsement for Healthcare Providers
    • Declaration signed by the Director or the CEO of the hospital (to be provided in the online tool)
    • Declaration signed by the Healthcare provider Representative (to be provided in the online tool)

Before submitting the application, the following information shall be reviewed by the healthcare providers

  1. Applicable legislation
  2. The scope, criteria and thresholds of the diseases covered by each of the 24 ERNs
  3. Information provided by the Networks on their websites
  4. Assessment manual and operational criteria

Further information for the applicants

General information on ERNs

Created under the 2011 Directive on Patient Rights' in Cross-Border Healthcare, European Reference Networks (ERNs) are cross-border networks bringing together centres of expertise and reference centres of European hospitals to tackle rare or low prevalence and complex diseases and conditions that require highly specialised healthcare. ERNs enable specialists in Europe to share learnings and discuss complex patient cases, providing advice on the most appropriate diagnosis and the best treatment. A key principle of ERNs is to let the knowledge travel rather than the patient leading to economies of scale and more efficient use of costly resources.

24 ERNs covering all major rare disease groups were launched in March 2017, including 956 highly specialised healthcare units from 313 hospitals located in 26 countries (25 EU Member States plus Norway). Each Network has a Coordinator and the 24 of them are gathered within the ERN Coordinators group (ERN-CG) establishing a common ground on several key technical and organisational aspects of the Networks activities.

The Board of Member States (BoMS), as laid out in the European Commission Implementing Decision, was set up on 5 February 2014, and consist of the EU Member states and Norway. One of the tasks of the BoMS include the approval of healthcare providers wishing to join existing Networks.