How the ESPR seeks to improve medical care & clinical practice in Paediatrics

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Within the monthly topic ‘Medical care and clinical practice’ of our campaign 11 Months – 11 Topics, we present you the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR), an organisation which has been at the forefront of Paediatric medical care and innovation since 1958. As one of the oldest and most prolific Paediatric research societies in Europe, the ESPR co-organises annual conferences (the joint European Neonatal Societies’ Congress and European Academy of Paediatric Societies’ Congress), supports investigators with research grants, runs a mentoring programme and disseminates cutting-edge findings through its journal Pediatric Research, amongst others.

Together with the European Board of Neonatology (EBN), the ESPR’s educational branch, the society offers hands-on pre-congress courses, workshops, as well as summer and winter schools. These underpin key areas of practice within the European Curriculum and Syllabus for Training in Neonatology.

Based on its heritage and proudly looking back at a long list of achievements, the ESPR continues to promote scientific excellence and collaboration between different Paediatric specialities. This the ESPR does from ‘bench to bedside’ – meaning it fosters research to improve patient treatment and advance clinical practice.

Mission: Developing and applying research to improve newborn and child health.

For more information on the ESPR, please visit


Some current ESPR activities:

1. Neonatologist Performed Echocardiography (NPE) overview in Pediatric Research

The ESPR Circulation Section chaired by Prof. Willem de Boode (Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands) seeks to promote research and provide best-evidence guidelines in the fields of circulation, oxygen transport and haematology. This it achieves by encouraging the exchange of ideas and discussions amongst researchers, through the organisation of parallel sessions, workshops and courses during ESPR conferences, and by bringing together experts in special interest groups and a virtual research community.

Following a long-term collaboration of 20+ professionals throughout Europe and beyond in the field of Paediatrics, the ESPR Circulation Section published eight review articles in Pediatric Research. These formulate cutting-edge guidelines regarding the use of Neonatologist Performed Echocardiography (NPE) for assessment of cardiovascular compromise and guidance of individualised hemodynamic management in newborn infants.

In order to ensure the widespread and correct application of the guidelines in clinical practice – and ultimately to improve outcomes for patients – Prof. de Boode and his team regularly offer NPE courses. The next opportunity to participate in an NPE workshop will be at jENS 2019 in Maastricht (17-21 September), as part of the pre-conference programme.

All articles of the NPE overview are open-access and freely available online. Financial support was provided by the ESPR to cover publication costs.


2. The ESPR Research Grant Programme

In 2017, the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR) launched a large-scale research grant programme. Scheduled to run for three years (2017-2019), the society makes available new calls on an annual basis. This will be followed by a thorough evaluation of the outcome, with revised calls to be made available in the period 2020-2022.

Tailored towards young investigators wishing to advance their basic or clinical studies, post-docs aiming to realise an ambitious research project and early-investigators planning to expand their expertise abroad in another country – the ESPR Research Grant Programme offers many opportunities for researchers in the field of Paediatrics.

This year, this comprises the following calls:

ESPR Young Investigator START-UP Awards 2019

  • Funding: A maximum of nine awards of EUR 7,000 each. The committee wishes to reserve three grants for applicants from Eastern European countries.
  • Purpose: To help young investigators establish, perform or complete a small basic or clinical research project in all fields related to Paediatrics.


  • Funding: A maximum of three awards of EUR 25,000 each.
  • Purpose: To support a research project for established researchers in all fields related to Paediatrics.

The ESPR Early Investigator EXCHANGE PROGRAMME 2019

  • Funding: A maximum of two awards of EUR 40,000 each (20% uplift for child care).
  • Purpose: To enable a young investigator to spend a period of research in the field of Paediatrics in a research group in another country.

The ESPR believes that the funding opportunities provided by the society to the numerous young investigators and post-doc researchers over the past three years will have had a positive influence on their careers as much as their personal lives. And, most importantly in the long run, it will be their patients who benefit from their research findings and professional experience.

In other words, the ESPR Research Grant Programme fully embodies our society’s mission of developing and applying research to improve newborn and child health – from bench to bedside. For further information on the requirements and how to participate in the calls for 2019, please click here.


3. The revision of the European Syllabus for the Accreditation in Newborn Medicine

The European Syllabus for the Accreditation in Newborn Medicine represents one of the Paediatric Specialist training programmes as defined by the European Union of Medical Specialists (U.E.M.S.). The objective of the syllabus is to support national training programmes in neonatal medicine and define: a) the aims of the training; b) the contents and the duration of the training programme; c) the basic requirements for entering such a programme; and d) a spectrum of required qualifications for training centres and tutors.

Since its initial preparation in 1998 by the ESPR-Working Group for Neonatology, the syllabus has been revised once: in 2007. In order to maintain its validity and keep up-to-date with innovation and medical practice, this year the syllabus has been scheduled for another revision. This is why, the European Board of Neonatology (EBN) together with a group of experts from the European Society of Paediatric Research (ESPR), has spent the last 12 months to update the document and bring it up to standard.

The ESPR believes that in order to achieve high standards of patient care and scientific research in the field of medicine, high quality postgraduate training programmes are indispensable. The current revisions have taken place to make the process of training in Neonatology following post-core training in Paediatrics clearer and to facilitate the incorporation of high-quality national training programmes. Ultimately, it is the objective of the 2019 revision to homogenise the theoretical and practical requirements for becoming a neonatologist in Europe and train competent practitioners in neonatal medicine for the benefit of patients and their families.

The revised European Syllabus for the Accreditation in Newborn Medicine will be launched at jENS 2019.