The aim of the ERICA consortium, in which all 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) take part, is to build on the strength of the individual ERNs and create a platform that integrates all ERNs research and innovation capacity.

Through knowledge sharing, engagement with stakeholders in the rare disease domain and assembly of transdisciplinary research groups working across the global health spectrum, ERICA strives to reach the following goals:

  • new intra- and inter-ERN rare disease competitive networks;
  • effective data collection strategies;
  • better patient involvement;
  • enhanced quality and impact of clinical trials;
  • increased awareness of ERNs innovation potential.

ERICA will strengthen research and innovation capacity by the integration of ERN research activities, outreach to European research infrastructures to synergistically increase impact and innovation. This will result in efficient access and safe therapies for the benefit of patients suffering from rare diseases and complex conditions.

Rare diseases

Rare diseases are defined as diseases that affect not more than 1 person per 2000 in the European population. However, while individual rare diseases affect only a small percentage of the population, they collectively affect up to 30 million people in the EU.

European Reference Networks

In 2017, 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) were established by the European Commission. The aim of these networks is to facilitate access to high-quality cross-border healthcare and to promote cooperation on healthcare for rare diseases between Member States.

The ERICA project builds on the strength of these individual ERNs by promoting inter-ERN research activities and by establishing close partnerships with existing European and international infrastructures and consortia involved in research and innovation in the field of rare diseases.

ERICA consortium

The ERICA consortium consists of 29 partners, amongst which all 24 ERNs, EURORDIS, the EJP RD, Orphanet, Mapi Trust Research, and EATRIS.