Affiliated partnership is a European Commission-led initiative developed to address concerns regarding the geographic coverage of the ERNs. In 2019 a call was open for healthcare providers to apply to become 'affiliated partners' of an ERN. Applicants had to be designated on a national level but were not required to meet the same criteria as ERN members. Affiliated partner designations could not be made by member states with a member hospital already involved in ERNICA.
The involvement of affiliated partners in ERNICA activities depends on the capacity of the healthcare provider and their level of expertise.