Exchange Program


The ERN Exchange Programme is designed to share knowledge and stimulate collaboration between professionals in the European Reference Networks (ERNs).

Interested in the possibilities of an exchange visit? Join the Q&A session. Ecorys team is available to answer your questions every Tuesday and Thursday between 12.30 and 13.30. Scan the QR code to enter the session.

The ERN exchange programme is a Short-term Mobility and Exchange Programme for Health Professionals ERNs. The exchange programme is meant to meet goals and strengthen capacity on the network level by sharing expertise, experiences and highly specialised knowledge under the scope and frame of the 24 European Reference Networks.

It is not meant for research nor for individual development (though this may be a secondary effect of the exchange programme).

VASCERN will focus on the network priorities of either:

  • Improving medical knowledge through provision of trainings for healthcare professionals
  • Sharing best practices, in particular involving organization of MDT, in order to improve medical care, management and efficiency in all of our HCPs.

The first round of visits will start in March 2021 and the programme ends in December 2022.

VASCERN was given 44 packages

  • 1 package = 5 days of exchange (daily allowance for professional that travels (200Euros/day), travel costs & travel insurance arranged by Ecorys (the service provider). Insurance for professional liability is not included and must be covered by traveler!
  • Group meetings/visits are eligible but subject to the approval of HaDEA/DG SANTE. (HaDEA) European Health and Digital Executive Agency.

The possible maximum duration of an exchange visit will be extended from up to 3 weeks to 6 weeks (3-6 packages) in order to better meet the varying needs of the ERN.

Ecorys will organise and manage travel arrangements and provide administrative support for travels, including the provision of tickets, travel insurance and an information kit.

Healthcare professionals across the 6 rare diseases working groups in the VASCERN Full Member or Affiliated Partner institutions can apply for support of their exchange visit.

If you would like to propose an exchange visit, please contact the VASCERN coordination team via email at (with your RDWG Chair in cc) in order to receive pre-approval.

In your email, send the following information:

  • name/medical specialty of visitor
  • name of hosting HCP (making sure the representative from that HCP approves)
  • a paragraph outlining the aims and specific activities planned during the various days of the exchange (this can be agreed on by host or visitor)

Once your exchange has been pre-approved and you have decided on the dates of the exchange, the coordination team will send you a Mobility Agreement Document that needs to be signed by both host and visitor (+ Declaration of Honour document for the visitor).

VASCERN members who have participated in our exchange program share their experiences.

Dr. Ruben Hermann

In our first VASCERN Exchange Program interview, we are thrilled to interview Dr. Ruben Hermann from the CHU de Lyon HCL, GH Est-Hôpital Femme Mère Enfant in Lyon, France. Dr. Ruben Hermann is a member of the Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia Working Group (HHT-WG). In this article, he shares what were his goals for the exchange program, and the new discovery and lessons learned during it. This exchange program was done at the Odense University Hospital in Odense, Denmark with Prof. Anette Kjeldsen.

Dr. Guido Giacalone & Dr. Florence Belva

In this VASCERN Exchange Program interview, we are excited to interview Dr. Guido Giacalone and Dr. Florence Belva from the AZ Sint-Maarten, Mechelen, Belgium. Dr. Guido Giacalone and Dr. Florence Belva are members of the Pediatric and Primary Lymphedema Working Group (PPL-WG). In this article, they share what were their goals for the exchange program, and the new discovery and lessons learned during it. This exchange program was done at the Helsinki University Hospital in Helsinki, Finland with Prof. Sinikka Suominen.

Comments are closed