Who we are

ERS is an international organisation that brings together physicians, healthcare professionals, scientists and other experts working in respiratory medicine. We are one of the leading medical organisations in the respiratory field, with a growing membership representing over 140 countries.

Our mission is to promote lung health in order to alleviate suffering from disease and drive standards for respiratory medicine globally. Science, education and advocacy are at the core of everything we do.

One in eight people in Europe die due to lung diseases – this means one person every minute. It includes well known diseases like asthma and lung cancer and other less known like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which is now the third most common cause of death.

ERS is involved in promoting scientific research and providing access to high-quality educational resources. It also plays a key role in advocacy – raising awareness of lung disease amongst the public and politicians.

Our history

We were founded in London in 1990 from the merger of the Societas Europaea Physiologiae Clinicae Respoiratoriae (SEPCR, founded 1966) with the European Society of Pneumology (SEP, founded 1981).

The merger took place in London in 1990, during the joint meeting of SEPCR and SEP. This unification brought together the basic scientists of SEPCR with the clinicians of SEP in a harmonious relationship, which has continued as the driving force behind the success of our Society today.

The structure of the new society in 1990 was based on the assemblies of SEPCR. This structure has continued as the backbone of ERS to the present day, with the assemblies, and groups within them, underpinning all scientific and educational activities, driving us forward to achieving our mission.

Our Past Presidents

  • 1991 S.W. Clarke (UK)
  • 1992 J-C. Yernault (BE)
  • 1993 R. Rodríguez-Roisin (ES)
  • 1994 D. Olivieri (IT)
  • 1995 M. Zach (AT)
  • 1996 G. Huchon (FR)
  • 1997 S.G. Spiro (UK)
  • 1998 C. Roussos (GR)
  • 1999 R. Loddenkemper (DE)
  • 2000 J. Boe (NO)
  • 2001 J. Roca (ES)
  • 2002 M. Zelter (FR)
  • 2003 G.J. Gibson (UK)
  • 2004 W. McNicholas (IE)
  • 2005 R. Dahl (DK)
  • 2006 G. Viegi (IT)
  • 2007 W. MacNee (UK)
  • 2008 L.M. Fabbri (IT)
  • 2009 J. Gerritsen (NL)
  • 2010 N. Siafakas (GR)
  • 2011 M. Decramer (BE)
  • 2012 K.F. Rabe (DE)
  • 2013 F. Blasi (IT)
  • 2014 P.J. Barnes (UK)
  • 2015 E. Bel (NL)
  • 2016 J Vestbo (UK)
  • 2017 G Joos (BE)