The European Commission has launched the first call for new healthcare providers (HCPs) to join the existing 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) as full members, with a deadline of 30 November 2019.
Applicants can find all the relevant information on a dedicated webpage, and need to submit their application through a specific IT tool provided on that website. Two manuals have been published to provide guidance to applicants on the use of the on-line application form and on the assessment and the application process. FAQs are also available to answer to the most frequent concerns. If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Note that any existing Affiliated Partners who wish to remain in an ERN will need to apply for full membership, as when one or more full members are appointed to an ERN in a Member State, all other Affiliated Partnerships in that state will be terminated.
The 24 European Reference Networks were established in 2017, following a call for applications published in 2016. More than 950 clinical units, hosted in around 300 hospitals, have become members of these ERNs. However, the geographical coverage of the ERNs shows a certain unbalance between Western and Eastern Europe, where the participation of smaller countries appears to be more limited or in certain cases absent.
The call for new members to join existing ERNs aims to overcome these gaps, offering the possibility for the underrepresented Member States to designate new members for the existing ERNs. At the same time, some ERNs will have the possibility to expand the scope of their network by adding additional conditions and thus offering the possibility for more patients to find support.