Expert Patient and Researcher EURORDIS Summer School




Patients are taking on ever increasing roles in advocating for medicines development, equal access to treatments across Europe and ensuring that medical information is clear, accurate and comprehensible. In order to help prepare them for these roles and as part of its commitment to empowering people living with rare diseases, EURORDIS launched its own training programme for expert patients in 2008.

The programme allows patients and researchers to sharpen their advocacy skills and gain an understanding of the regulatory process of orphan medicinal products so that they are able to advocate at a European level.

The programme has online and face-to-face components. The face-to-face portion trains 40 expert patients annually as part of an intensive 4.5-day course held in Barcelona, Spain.

The next edition of the EURORDIS Summer School will take place in 11 - 15 June 2018 in Barcelona.

Apply using the form below.

If you have any questions regarding the EURORDIS Summer School please contact Nancy Hamilton  


  1. How to apply
  2. Programme Content
  3. Why the Summer School was developed
  4. Summer School Alumni
  5. Online training
  6. Financial support

1. How to apply

The next edition of the EURORDIS Summer School will take place in June 11 - 15 2018 in Barcelona.

Application form

For more information about EURORDIS Summer School please contact Nancy Hamilton

2. Content of the programme

The EURORDIS Summer School covers the follow topics:

  • Clinical Trials Methodology
  • Clinical Research
  • Ethical Considerations in Medicines Development
  • Regulatory affairs
  • Health Technology Assessment
  • Marketing Authorisations


3. Why the Summer School was developed

The Summer School was developed to fill specific needs identified by expert patients, EURORDIS and the European Medicines Agency. Expert patients from EURORDIS are permanent representatives on EMA Scientific Committees and working parties. EURORDIS recognises their need for support and training that includes an overview of clinical research and methodology, medicines development and regulatory procedures.

In 2000, the Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) was formed at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European authorities had the foresight to include patients' representatives as permanent and full members with equal voting rights. Three patients' representatives sit on this committee and the position of Vice-Chair of the COMP has to date always been held by a patients' representative.

Since this time, a working party and three more scientific committees have been created, all of which include patients' representatives:

  • Patients' and Consumers' Working Party (PCWP) in 2006
  • Paediatric Committee (PDCO) in 2008
  • Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT) in 2009
  • Pharmacovigilance and Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) in 2012

Expert Patients are also frequently solicited for their input on the development of specific products for their disease, e.g.; via the process of Protocol Assistance with the Scientific Advice Working Party (SAWP).

4. Alumni

To date, the Summer School has trained over 400 participants from more than 40 countries and representing over 70 different diseases. Summer School alumni report an increased awareness of the importance of their involvement in all aspects of medicines development and of their potential to be a real force. Participants also recognise the need for patients' organisations to collaborate internationally as well as the importance of involvement in the activities of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and EURORDIS. The training experience reinforces participants' sense of community, and increases their individual capacities.

Read more about EURORDIS Summer School alumni, including a list of all alumni members.

5. Other training

Ahead of the Summer School in Barcelona, participants are invited to take part in a pre-training course. In addition to the face-to-face training programme, trainees have access to freely available online modules, webcasts and slide presentations to allow them to prepare for the face-to-face training and to review and refer back to the content once they have completed the training.

For more information about EURORDIS Summer School please contact Nancy Hamilton

6. Financial support

The Summer School is financed by:

  • 2008 to 2010 DIA Philanthropy Programme 
  • 2008 to 2018 French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM)
  • 2008 to 2018 Inserm
  • 2008 to 2015 Fundació Doctor Robert UAB
  • 2008 to 2018 Executive Agency for Health and Consumers Operating Grant
  • 2012 to 2018 European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN)
  • 2013 to 2018 Platforma Malalties Minoritaries
  • 2015 and 2016 Cost Action Exon Skipping BM1207
  • 2017 Canadian Institutes of Health Research 
  • 2017 Rare Diseases International
  • 2017 Leiden University Medical Center


Page created: 28/09/2010
Page last updated: 16/10/2017
The voice of rare disease patients in EuropeEURORDIS The international voice of people living with rare diseases, Rare Diseases International is a EURORDIS initiativeRare Disease International Bringing together patients, families and experts to share experiences in a moderated multilanguage forum, RareConnect is a EURORDIS initiative RareConnect The Rare Barometer Programme is a EURORDIS initiative that carries out surveys to transform rare disease patients' experiences into figures and facts that can be shared with decision-makers.Rare Barometer An international awareness raising campaign taking place on the last day of February each year, Rare Disease Day is a EURORDIS initiativeRare Disease Day Join the largest gathering of rare disease stakeholders across Europe, at the biennial European Conference on Rare Diseases and Orphan Products. ECRD is a EURORDIS initiativeEuropean Conference on Rare Diseases