Specifications for organising ERA’s congresses and meetings
The ERA has appointed an external PCO (Professional Congress Organizer) to organise all its Congresses and Meetings under the supervision of the ERA HQ.
I. Choosing the Congress-Meeting location and venue
The Council is in charge of approving the Congress-Meeting location-venue, after it receives a full technical report by the Executive Director. A specific scoring system has been devised to evaluate locations and venues from a logistic and technical point of view. The Congress, and if possible, also any Meeting organised by ERA, must make a profit to allow enough funds for the various activities of the Association and this is an essential key element that must be taken into consideration in the general evaluation for the selection of the location/venue.
Due to the fact that the ERA Congress needs a lot of planning the definitive choice of a Congress location, the venue and the tentative dates should ideally be done before the end of the 4th calendar year before the Congress.
IMPORTANT! It is extremely important that the dates of the future Congresses, once approved by Council, be kept confidential until they are published so that the officially appointed PCO can make sure that the main hotels are booked for ERA through them. The dates of the future Congresses are normally published three years in advance on the congress website.
Once the Council has approved a location/venue of the ERA Congress it must nominate the local Congress President.
II. The local Congress President & Congress Secretary
Each ERA Congress has two Presidents: the President of ERA and a local President elected by the Council. The local President must have given significant contributions to the Society, he/she can be from the Country where the Congress is held or one of the bordering ones. The Council will also nominate a Congress Secretary who must be from the Country where the Congress is held. The Council must inform the local National Soc. of Nephrology of the suggested name of both local representatives as a curtesy, but also for eventual feedback especially with regard to the Congress Secretary, before the nominated persons are informed officially.
The full duties of the local Congress President and the Congress Secretary can be found here.
If a Congress is held jointly with another society of nephrology, the local President is also a representative of that society.
The local Congress President must always be a Full member of ERA.
III. Joint Congresses and Local Representation
ERA Council can decide to hold the annual ERA Congress together with another Society. If this happens this agreement must be signed between ERA and the other Society and an adequate representation of the other Society’s members must be included in the Congress (speakers/chairs) and the Scientific Committee and, therefore, the “normal” rules for a stand-alone ERA Congress do not always apply.
ERA very much welcomes the collaboration with the National Society of Nephrology and for this reason a joint session, which can also be organized exclusively in the local language, can be included into the programme.
Full CME accreditation by ERA for the local participants is also strongly suggested.
IV. Congress timing
The Council is in charge of approving the timing of the Congress as well as on its duration, based on the proposals submitted by the ERA Executive Director.
The time of the year when a Congress can be held is normally from mid-May to the end of June.
The duration of a Congress is normally 3 days and a half and it usually follows this structure: the first day is devoted to Congress Membership registrations (this can also be done starting the day before) and Educational Courses (CME, Hands-On), with the official Congress Opening held in the morning and the Welcome Ceremony to be held in the evening or late afternoon; the second and the third days have mornings and afternoons devoted to scientific sessions. On the fourth day the scientific sessions will end earlier. Mini-Oral sessions can be organised on two days and they should have a dedicated time slot, without overlapping with other sessions. The exhibition will normally open on the first day and close the day before the last Congress day.
V. Appointment and Role of the Scientific Committee (SC)
The Council will appoint the Chair of the Scientific Committee, the rules regarding the appointment by Council of the Chair of the Scientific Committee as well as the duties of the Scientific Committee and its composition, can be found here.
VI. Appointment and Role of the Paper Selection Committee (PSC)
The Chair of the Paper Selection Committee is appointed by the Council. He/she must be an ERA Full Member. His/her mandate is for 3 years. He/she should be nominated as PSC Chair Elect one year before the end of the term of the current PSC Chair, from one of the current ERA Ordinary Council members, possibly as soon as he/she is elected into Council. He/she will work closely in collaboration with the current Chair until he/she officially starts his/her term the following year. The full list of duties of the Chair of the PSC can be found here.
During his/her term if he/she is not a current Council Member, he/she can be invited to Council Meetings when necessary but does not have any voting rights, in any case, he/she should be invited to participate in the pre-Congress Council meeting of the year of the Congress. For the rules regarding the reimbursement policy in these cases, one must refer to the General Rules for ERA Committees.
During the ERA Congresses for which he/she has been in charge, if he/she is not also a Council member and/or a speaker, he/she will be entitled to receive complimentary 4 night’s accommodation, travel and Congress Membership.
VII. Contents of the scientific programme
The programme must include all the following topics (the Council can, at any time, decide to modify the list of topics):
- Basic sciences, including immunology and immunopathology;
- Clinical nephrology, including AKI and CKD;
- Peritoneal dialysis;
The programme is divided into the following tracks (the Council can, at any time, decide to modify them):
- Renal Physiology, Cell Biology & Genetic Diseases;
- Glomerular & Tubulo-interstitial Diseases;
- Chronic Kidney Disease;
- Kidney Transplantation;
- Hypertension and Diabetes;
- AKI and Critical Care Nephrology.
An additional “Institutional” track including general symposia such as a session lead by the ERA Registry, selected speakers from each of the ERA Journals, the Young Awardees lecture, “Learn by Practice” sessions, etc.
The programme, must be presented by the Chair of the Scientific Committee to the Council for approval. The Council can decide that sessions on certain specific topics, or special sessions, of its internal Working Groups and/or Committees must be included in the programme. Type and content of these sessions must be agreed upon by the leadership of each group and the Scientific Committee, and then, obviously, approved by Council. The Council can also decide to exchange highlights of scientific presentations of the annual Congress with other societies, or to invite speakers of other societies (“Ambassadors”) – this must be taken into consideration by the Scientific Committee of the Congress (the ERA policy regarding all matters organized in collaboration with other societies can be found here.
The Scientific Committee, when creating the programme of the Congress, should include speakers of the ERA Working Groups, Committees and Task Forces, if and when appropriate.
In particular, with regard to the YNP, the Scientific Committee must include in the programme (symposia and mini lectures) the names of at least six YNP members. The YNP Board will prepare a list, that must be up-dated every year, of the best 20 young nephrologists in Europe (indicating their main area of expertise), based on publications, academic achievements and scientific awards. After the approval by the Council of this list, it will be given to the Chair of the Scientific Committee with the specific recommendation to involve as much as possible valuable YNP members into the Congress programme.
With regard to the Ethics Committee instead the Chair of the Scientific Committee will receive the names of up to 2 speakers for the annual ERA Congress, the Ethics Committee must submit also their main area of expertise (based on publications, academic achievements and scientific awards), for ethical talks. The sessions in which these speakers will be allocated will be determined by the Chair of the Scientific Committee and then approved by the Council.
Finally, with regard to the ERA Registry, the Chair of the Scientific Committee will have to make sure that a session is dedicated to the research work carried out by the Registry with the approval of the Registry Committee and the Council.
The Chair of the Scientific Committee should (if and when appropriate) include up to the 8 best free communications in the normal scientific programme of the Congress (i.e. NOT simply in the free communication sessions).
One or two symposia, if at all possible, must be devoted to the Late Breaking Clinical Trials (LBCT). Presentations should be selected through a special call for abstract. The review and selection must be done by the Council members even if the final selection should be done in collaboration with the Chair of the Scientific Committee.
The full details related to the LBCT can be found here.
Normally there will be a closing session at the end of the Congress, called “Nephrology Pearls” which is part of the “Institutional” track. This session must have the following characteristics:
- The session will last 75 minutes and there will be 4 presentations of 18 minutes each with no discussion;
- The presentations must be on the official ERA template;
- For the presentation the speakers must review and thus include in their talk the best/more relevant published papers, for the specific topic presented, from the last 2 years (i.e. 2020 Congress: papers published between 2018 and 2020);
- At least one top abstract from the current Congress should be included: this must be selected by the Chairs of the Scientific Committee and the Paper Selection Committee.
VIII. Congress Chairs and Speakers
The chairs and speakers are selected by the Scientific Committee and by the CME Committee and by any other Committee appointed for this task but must be confirmed by the Council. They must all fill in a specific form when accepting the invitation by ERA.
People hired by industry should not normally be invited to be faculty members (Speakers or Chairs) of the Congress but that if this happens it must be limited in number and Council must be specifically informed of the names/topics and give ad-hoc approval. For more details regarding this specific matter see article XXIII of the General Rules for ERA Committees.
The number of presentations in each Symposium is limited to preferably three (max. four), one can be given by a Chair.
It is also recommended to invite speakers from European countries (as well as countries bordering Europe and the Mediterranean Sea), and to prefer ERA members; furthermore, if possible, it is preferable to nominate as speakers/chairs people who will already be present at the annual congress due to other commitments (Working Group, Committee Board Members) – see also the relevant specification in the section above.
In order to keep the scientific content up to date with the latest clinical practice, it is also recommended not to invite speakers who have been out of clinical practice for more than five years.
In order to allow a good representation within the program of various categories of speakers it is recommended that speakers give only one talk and that only for very specific reasons should a speaker have more than one talk, furthermore no more than 10% of the speakers should be from the same country, so that the final selection reflects the geographical representation of the different countries that are part of ERA: exceptions to this rule are possible in the occasion of joint congresses.
The maximum number of commitments in the Scientific Program (i.e. chairs/speakers) that a single person can have during the annual ERA Congress, Educational/Hands-On Courses and Industry Symposia excluded, is three (the only exception to this rule is for the ERA President who has institutional obligations during the Congress).
If a speaker who has regularly accepted to make his/her presentation does not participate in the Congress without a valid reason, he/she will not be invited to the ERA Congresses for the next consecutive three years.
There should preferably also be two Chairs for each session.
The local Congress President and Secretary together with the Chair of the Scientific Committee are in charge of selecting the chairs for the various sessions.
A special “Thank you” letter must be sent to all speakers/chairs after the Congress: this is normally signed by the Chair of the Scientific Committee and the two Congress Presidents.
Detailed rules regarding the instructions for speakers and chairs, can be found here.
3. Disclosure of Interest (DoI)
All invited speakers and chairs to the Congress must fill in the Disclosure of Interest (DoI) form (for the speakers this is a mandatory step during the submission of the slides, either online or onsite) and the collected information is presented to the audience by means of slides to be shown at the beginning of each session (chairs) or talk (speakers).
With regard to Free Communications and Mini-Orals, the DoI form must be filled in by the presenting authors when submitting the abstracts (mandatory step in the online submission process). The collected information is presented to the audience by means of slides to be shown at the beginning of each talk or Mini-Oral.
Failure to comply with this rule will be clearly shown in a slide before the speaker’s presentation. The full details regarding the DoI can be here.
IX. Hospitality at the Congress
1. Hospitality for invited speakers and chairs.
All the invited speakers are entitled to free Congress Membership.
Invited speakers that do not already have a sponsor for their accommodation/travel receive complimentary hotel accommodation and travel according to the following rules.
All Chairs will be entitled to receive a free Congress Membership.
2. Free Congress Membership and YNP Mentorship Programme
Mentors of the YNP Mentorship Programme will receive a free Congress Membership provided that they have been actively part of the programme for at least one year.
It will be the duty of the YNP Coordinator to inform the PCO of the names and details of these people accordingly.
3. Free Congress Membership for specific Committees
All CME Committee members, the CME Chairs and Co-Chairs as well as all members of the Scientific Committee, the PSC Chair and the NDT and CKJ Editors-in-Chief, if not also speakers, are entitled to free Congress Membership.
This is also valid for the Social Media (SoMe) Team members.
4. Hospitality for Council Members
Council Members will receive complimentary Congress Membership, travel (the rules applied are the same as for those applied for the participation in Council Meetings – see the General Rules for ERA Committees) and accommodation for the number of nights that is necessary to allow them to attend the entire Congress and any eventual meeting they must attend that are scheduled before and/or after it.
Accommodation is in double room for single use. In case they have an accompanying person, they should pay the difference owed (if any) directly to the hotel.
Staff of the ERA, who have to attend meetings in connection with the Congress, are entitled to receive travel refund, hotel accommodation for the number of nights that are necessary for them to perform their duties and Congress Membership, this last item only if specifically requested. Accommodation is in double room for single use. In case they have an accompanying person, they should pay the difference owed (if any) directly to the hotel.
6. All Other Guests
Below are two tables related to the hospitality offered to Congress guests irrespectively of their role.
7. Important General Rules
Accommodation is in a double room for single use for three nights, unless otherwise pointed out. If a guest has an accompanying person, he/she should personally pay the difference owed (if any).
Travel is in economy class, unless otherwise pointed out.
To view the full rules regarding the complimentary hotel accommodation and travel one must make reference to those for the speakers (see above), except for the ERA Council Members (see also above).
If a person attending the Congress has more than one role, he/she will receive the benefits for the role which has the most benefits or a combination of the best benefits.
X. Congress Grants
The ERA Council will decide on the budget for these grants. All the details can be found here.
The grants are personal and cannot be given to a third person or institution, no exceptions to this rule are possible.
XI. Satellite events
ERA does not normally authorise companies to organise satellite scientific events before, during or after the annual congress, as they may detract participants from the congress and financial support from companies.
Satellite meetings to be held before or after the annual congress can be accepted, if they are organised by scientific societies, universities or other institutions, with the following provisions:
- The meeting must be focused on very specific topics and their scientific contents must not duplicate the main topics of the annual congress;
- Satellite meetings can be approved only if they take place in the same country where the annual congress is held;
- The date and time must not interfere with the program of the congress, including the Educational Courses. If a satellite meeting is scheduled at the same time as the pre- or post-Congress Council meetings, participants and/or invitees must give preference to, and thus attend, the Council meeting;
Approved satellite meetings can be advertised as “Satellite Meeting of the Nth ERA Congress”. They will be listed in a specific page of the congress programme and in the congress website. Links to the respective web pages will be posted as well.
Information about approved satellite meetings will be advertised by ERA.
Satellite meetings are considered exceptional events, so ERA will not solicit proposals.
XII. Industry Symposia
Instead of permissions for satellite meetings before or after the Congress, companies are offered the possibility to organize a number of sessions during the Congress.
Industry Symposia held during the Congress or any Meeting organised by ERA, must be held in time slots that avoid interference with the scientific programmes.
The evaluation of the proposed symposia, their acceptance or refusal and the time schedule are decided by a restricted evaluation committee taken from the Scientific Committee members (ERA President, the local Congress President, the local Congress Secretary, the Chair of the Scientific Committee, the ERA Secretary-Treasurer and the ERA Renal Science Chair).
The entire reviewing process related to the Industry Symposia must be considered as strictly confidential, thus all the people involved in the procedure must keep in mind that all the documents they review, with regard to names of the speakers, titles of the presentations, names of the companies, etc. are all extremely confidential and cannot be disclosed to any third party until the entire procedure is completely finished and all the parties involved are regularly informed of the acceptance of their symposia. Details of symposia that instead are not accepted should remain confidential indefinitely.
Once the programme for the Industry Symposia is finalised, it should be presented and approved by the Council.
In the preliminary programme of its Symposium, the company should indicate the names of the proposed speakers. The speakers should, at least have had preliminary information about the invitation by the company organising the Symposium, and should not have declined.
IMPORTANT: Speakers may give a maximum of one presentation in an industry-sponsored event, and be chair of maximum one industry-sponsored event, per ERA Congress/Meeting.
A detailed programme of the Industry Symposia can be found in the Congress Programme.
Participation of ERA Committee members in Industry Symposia is regulated by a resolution that can be found in the DoI (Declaration of Interest) document.
IMPORTANT. Congress speakers who are invited by industry to make a presentation in an Industry Symposia and are fully sponsored by the company will not receive any travel or accommodation reimbursement from ERA. ERA will however grant them a complimentary Congress Membership. As an exception, and only upon specific request, an industry symposia speaker can take advantage of the Congress hotel accommodation and travel, but this will only be possible if the industry organising the symposia accepts to cover all the related costs.
XIII. ERA Committee Meetings
ERA has allocated budgets for all its Committees to organize a full day meeting at the ERA HQ & Educational Hub (Parma, Italy).
If, however a meeting is organized by a Committee during the ERA Congress all the costs related to said meeting will be allocated to the budget of the Committee itself.
XIV. Congress Opening and Welcome Ceremony, ERA General Assembly and Council Meetings at the Annual Congress
The annual Congress is opened, officially, on the first Day of the Congress, thus the day in which the Educational Courses are traditionally held. The official Congress Opening is normally presented by the ERA President, the local Congress President, the local Congress Secretary, the Paper Selection Committee Chair and the Congress Scientific Committee Chair, it normally lasts no more than 30 minutes.
2. Welcome Ceremony
The Welcome Ceremony traditionally consists of:
- Short welcome speeches (usually just one by the local Congress President and one by the ERA President);
- The distribution of the ERA Awards;
One lecture, not necessarily related to nephrology (it is preferable that the speaker be local, thus representing the host country). In this case only basic travel expenses will be reimbursed – taxi, parking, train, etc.
IMPORTANT. In order to be totally compliant with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) Code of Conduct and MedTech Europe Compliance, and thus allow pharmaceutical and medical industry to participate in and support the annual Congress, the ERA cannot provide any kind of entertainment (music, etc.) during any if its sessions. This is also true with regard to being compliant with the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) accreditation.
3. General Assembly
The annual General Assembly will normally be held at the occasion of the Annual Congress one day before it ends, possibly in the morning.
The slot should be one hour and 15 minutes in an adequate size meeting room with no scientific session immediately preceding or following.
There should be enough time for questions and discussion therefore the presentation done by the 4 main ex-officio officers related to the annual activities of the Society cannot exceed one hour, thus allowing at least 15 minutes for questions/discussion.
4. Council Meetings
The ERA Council will normally meet twice during the annual ERA Congresses. A first meeting will be held before the Congress (Pre-Congress Council Meeting) a second one after the Congress (Post-Congress Council Meeting).
XV. Diplomas and Certificates delivered during the Congress
XVI. Press Policy
XVII. Roles and Duties of the ERA staff in the organisation of the ERA Annual Congress and Meetings
ERA appoints an external PCO (Professional Congress Organizer) for the organization of its Congresses and Meetings. The Executive Director is in charge of managing the PCO. The ERA Officer responsible for following the activity of the Congress is the Renal Science Chair.
The PCO is not involved in the organization of the scientific programme of the Congress.
Last update: March 2023