European Reference Networks

European Reference Networks (ERNs)

European Reference Networks (ERNs) are virtual networks involving Reference Centres across Europe. They aim to tackle complex or rare diseases and conditions, that require highly specialised treatment and concentrated knowledge and resources. Rare patient cases can be discussed by a ‘virtual’ advisory board of medical specialists across different countries and disciplines in a dedicated and secure IT platform, constructed by the EU Commission specifically for ERNs. This way it is the medical knowledge and expertise that travel, rather than the patients, who have the comfort of staying in their supportive home environments.

ERNs are based on directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and the council European citizens have the right to cross-border healthcare. Here the European Union provides rules for facilitating the access to safe and high-quality cross-border healthcare and promotes cooperation on healthcare between Member States.

Health systems in the European Union aim to provide high-quality, cost-effective care, but this is particularly difficult with rare or low-prevalence complex diseases or conditions. Between 5,000 and 8,000 rare diseases affect the daily lives of around 30 million people in the EU. In order to provide this same quality of care for patients with rare conditions, ERNs were constructed.

More information about European Reference Networks (ERNs)

Overview of all Networks

The first ERNs were launched in March 2017, involving more than 900 highly-specialised healthcare units from over 300 hospitals in 26 Member States. 24 ERNs are working on a range of thematic issues including bone disorders, childhood cancer and immunodeficiency.

Network nameDescriptionRegistries
ERN BONDEuropean Reference Network on bone disordersEuRR-Bone
ERN CRANIOEuropean Reference Network on craniofacial anomalies and ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders
Endo-ERNEuropean Reference Network on endocrine conditionsEuRREB
ERN EpiCAREEuropean Reference Network on epilepsiesREDCap
ERKNetEuropean Reference Network on kidney diseasesERKReg
ERN-RNDEuropean Reference Network on neurological diseases
ERNICAEuropean Reference Network on inherited and congenital anomaliesEPSA
ERN LUNGEuropean Reference Network on respiratory diseases
ERN SkinEuropean Reference Network on skin disordersERRAS
ERN EURACANEuropean Reference Network on adult cancers (solid tumours)
ERN EuroBloodNetEuropean Reference Network on haematological diseases
ERN eUROGENEuropean Reference Network on urogenital diseases and conditionsInfo
ERN EURO-NMDEuropean Reference Network on neuromuscular diseasesRegistry Hub
ERN EYEEuropean Reference Network on eye diseasesREDgistry
ERN GENTURISEuropean Reference Network on genetic tumour risk syndromesGENTURIS
ERN GUARD-HEARTEuropean Reference Network on diseases of the heartHeart-Core
ERN ITHACAEuropean Reference Network on congenital malformations and rare intellectual disabilityILIAD
MetabERNEuropean Reference Network on hereditary metabolic disordersU-IMD
ERN PaedCanEuropean Reference Network on paediatric cancer (haemato-oncologyDBA-Register
ERN RARE-LIVEREuropean Reference Network on hepatological diseasesR-Liver
ERN ReCONNETEuropean Reference Network on connective tissue and musculoskeletal diseases
ERN RITAEuropean Reference Network on immunodeficiency, autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseasesMeRITA
ERN TRANSPLANT-CHILDEuropean Reference Network on transplantation in childrenPETER
VASCERNEuropean Reference Network on rare multisystemic vascular diseases