European Reference Network
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.
Brochure of all ERNs (, 4 MB)
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.
|ERN BOND||European Reference Network on bone disorders|
|ERN CRANIO||European Reference Network on craniofacial anomalies and ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders|
|Endo-ERN||European Reference Network on endocrine conditions|
|ERN EpiCARE||European Reference Network on epilepsies|
|ERKNet||European Reference Network on kidney diseases|
|ERN-RND||European Reference Network on neurological diseases|
|ERNICA||European Reference Network on inherited and congenital anomalies|
|ERN LUNG||European Reference Network on respiratory diseases|
|ERN Skin||European Reference Network on skin disorders|
|ERN EURACAN||European Reference Network on adult cancers (solid tumours)|
|ERN EuroBloodNet||European Reference Network on haematological diseases|
|ERN eUROGEN||European Reference Network on urogenital diseases and conditions|
|ERN EURO-NMD||European Reference Network on neuromuscular diseases|
|ERN EYE||European Reference Network on eye diseases|
|ERN GENTURIS||European Reference Network on genetic tumour risk syndromes|
|ERN GUARD-HEART||European Reference Network on diseases of the heart|
|ERN ITHACA||European Reference Network on congenital malformations and rare intellectual disability|
|MetabERN||European Reference Network on hereditary metabolic disorders|
|ERN PaedCan||European Reference Network on paediatric cancer (haemato-oncology)|
|ERN RARE-LIVER||European Reference Network on hepatological diseases|
|ERN ReCONNET||European Reference Network on connective tissue and musculoskeletal diseases|
|ERN RITA||European Reference Network on immunodeficiency, autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases|
|ERN TRANSPLANT-CHILD||European Reference Network on Transplantation in Children|
|VASCERN||European Reference Network on Rare Multisystemic Vascular Diseases|