Congress of joint European Neonatal Societies (jENS)

The Congress of joint European Neonatal Societies (jENS) is the first international neonatology congress where medical societies, scientists, healthcare professionals and parent representatives form a partnership and contribute equally to the congress programme. It is also the joint biennial meeting of EFCNI, ESPR (European Society of Paediatric Research) and UENPS (Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies). Since the launch of the congress in 2015, EFCNI has been a member of the organising societies and the executive committee. At every meeting, EFCNI presents a whole day of pre-courses and several own scientific sessions covering topics that are important and relevant to parents.

In the last 6 years, jENS has developed into an important congress with around 2100 attendees. With an audience from all over Europe and overseas, jENS is a truly international meeting, where neonatal physicians and nurses, paediatricians, parent- and patient representatives get together to discuss how neonatal care and short and long-term health outcomes can be improved.

jENS 2021 – The virtual place to be

The 4th jENS Congress has faced challenges that were not even foreseeable in the early planning stages in 2019. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic made meetings of any kind almost impossible. While some congresses and conferences were still cancelled in 2020, MCA, the agency responsible for jENS, decided early on to hold the congress virtually. The fact that the Congress had 2343 participants, represented attendees and speakers from 115 countries, and that the digital platform enabled interested people from low- and middle-income countries to participate in a high-level program shows how right this decision was.

Face-to-face interaction can never be replaced by a virtual event, but the digital jENS has given so many researchers the opportunity to present their research, so many Healthcare professionals to share their experience and best-practice examples, as well as parent representatives, to get in touch with professionals.

We look back on a successful event filled with many exciting presentations and intensive discussions.
Our thanks go to the co-organising societies, ESPR and UENPS, to all speakers and all attendees for their input and feedback.

We look forward to seeing you at the 5th jENS in 2023 – location to be announced!

The third jENS Congress 2019 in Maastricht – a special congress where parents and professionals meet and put neonates first

This year’s jENS was a real highlight in the congress season 2019. Located in the beautiful city of Maastricht, the Netherlands, 1,600 attendees, representing 71 countries, met from 16 to 21 of September, to discuss latest findings in research, means of improvement in care practices and much more.

Monday, 16  September, started with pre-courses about “Neonatal stabilisation in the delivery room”. The topics ranged from “Timing of cord clamping in preterms, asphyxia and infants with CDH” to “Monitoring oxygenation and heart rate stabilization at birth”, “Respiratory support in the golden minutes” and “Stimulation of breathing at birth”, among others.

On Tuesday, 17 September, EFCNI hosted the pre-congress course on “Infant-family-centred developmental care”. Another highlight in the morning was the course “Emotional closeness and support”, featuring talks by Prof. Renée Flacking (Sweden), the researcher Dr Hannakaisa Niela-Vilén (Finland), and a moving contribution by Livia Nagy Bonnard from our partnering parent organisation “Right(s) beside you” (Hungary). In the afternoon, Dr Margarita Tzaki, Dr Anastasia Kapetanaki, Dr Kalliopi Dritsakou and Dr Eleni Vavouraki from the Elena Venizelou Hospital Athens, shared a Greek best practice example how they introduced family-centred care in the challenging setting of a Greek hospital. The big finale of this day was the official opening of jENS. For the first time, the jENS Awards were handed over to three awardees, chosen by the three congress organisers ESPR, UENPS, and EFCNI. The award recognises and appreciates the commitment by the awardee in the field of neonatology. Our congrats go to Dr Michael Anthony Hall (ESPR Award), Professor Giuseppe Buonocore (UENPS Award), and Dr Eleni Vavouraki (EFCNI Award). A very special opening talk on the importance of creating a blame-free culture in order to encourage self-reflective interaction in medical emergency settings was given by Captain Hans Härting. Last but not least, EFCNI proudly launched the toolkit “Shaping the future – Combining forces to improve newborn health”. The toolkit aims to facilitate and support the implementation of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health on a national, regional, and local level.

Tuesday ended with the launch of the toolkit and Wednesday, 18 September began with the big launch of our position paper “Addressing the nutritional emergency of preterm birth – Optimal practice in neonatal parenteral nutrition” as part of the EFCNI morning session “Patient safety”. Additionally, our partner Baxter hosted a fully packed  lunch symposium with the title “Guideline recommendation and post implementation quality outcome measures” where Prof. Alexandre Lapillonne, one of the experts involved in developing the position paper, also referred to this newly released position paper in his insightful talk on nutrition guidelines for parenteral feeding.

In the afternoon, EFCNI hosted another session on “Comfort of the infant and the parents in the NICU” with interesting presentations by Prof. Pierre Kuhn and many more.

Thursday, 19 September was the big day to launch EFCNI’s new position paper “How can we protect preterm infants from RSV infections?” in a very well recieved  lunch symposium with presentations by Prof. Angelika Berger and Prof. Luc Zimmermann. EFCNI also chaired the parallel session “Family-centred care”. The third congress day was rounded off by two great workshops: “How to improve follow-up in very preterm infants: Lessons from the SHIPS project”, introduced the EU-funded SHIPS cohort study whilst the session “Working together, saving lives, and ensuring babies and families thrive” (WHO report) presented the newly launched WHO/UNICEF report “Survive and thrive: transforming care for every small and sick newborn”, which was presented by Ornella Lincetto (WHO). EFCNI is honoured to be a part of this publication where 94 experts from 16 countries had been working on.

Friday, 20 September, was all about facts and figures. EFCNI chaired the session “The importance of measuring the quality of care”. During this session, Dr Johanna Pfeil from EFCNI gave an introduction to the project “European Standards of Care for Newborn Health”. Speaking of facts and figures, EFCNI alos presented an e-poster sat the jENS: Dr Silvia Kolossa from EFCNI’s scientific department presented the digital poster “Real World Data – Hidden Treasure for Neonatal Research?”

On Saturday, 21 September, the congress drew to a close. Nevertheless, the programme was filled with intriguing sessions. The last EFCNI parallel session “How does the interdisciplinary approach in research work?” included a talk about the role of parents in neonatal research by Nicole Thiele and a presentation about the RECAP preterm (Research on European Children and Adults born Preterm) project by Professor Dieter Wolke. This eventful conference was rounded off in the closing session “Parents – doctors interface” and the Young Investigator Awards ceremony, There was also a very touching moment when Prof. Neil Marlow called for a minute’s silence in commemoration of all the babies who passed away –  big thanks to Prof. Neil Marlow for reminding every attendee that it’s the youngest and most fragile patients in our health care systems that this conference is all about.

See you in Athens at jENS 2021!

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The 2nd Congress of joint European Neonatal Societies took place from 31 October to 4 November 2017 in Venice, Italy. The congress gathered together almost 2,000 participants from about 85 countries. They could attend remarkable sessions, impressive talks and took part in lively discussions. As part of the organising societies and executive committee, EFCNI had the honour to organise and chair one pre-course and six parallel and one plenary sessions. The EFCNI events covered a wide range of topics related to preterm birth such as pain reduction, family-centred developmental care, measurement of quality of care, digital patient care, and neonatal palliative care versus developmental care.

A Q&A with the four Presidents of this year’s jENS Congress

On the occasion of the congress, EFCNI launched the new position paper Involvement of parent representatives in neonatal research. It was developed by EFCNI in close collaboration with parent representatives from about 50 NGOs. The paper highlights current challenges and gaps as experienced by EFCNI and its partner organisations and suggests principles towards an infrastructure and framework that will lead to a beneficial partnership of both parties. EFCNI warmly thank the parent representatives from our network who actively contributed to the position paper. Special thanks to the EFCNI Parent Advisory Board whose members spent countless hours to realise this project.

Beyond this, another EFCNI publication was presented for the first time during the congress – a factsheet on the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The leaflet features the problems this serious illness can cause in preterm babies and ways to prevent an infection. It was developed in close collaboration with Professor Luc Zimmermann who highlights the potential threat of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus: “RSV is a virus that is widely spread among the population, but many people don’t know about its existence. Since the lungs of preterm babies are not fully developed when they are born, they have an increased risk for a severe infection with RSV.”

We thank Professor Luc Zimmermann for his support and advice.

This year’s jENS congress in Venice also marked a change in the Council of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR): Professor Luc Zimmermann handed over the Presidency to his successor Professor Charles Christoph Roehr. On this occasion, we would like to sincerely thank Professor Luc Zimmermann for his continuous commitment and strong support during the past years and we wish Professor Charles Christoph Roehr all the best for his new role. We furthermore look very much forward to our collaboration and many important common projects ahead.

After the congress is before the congress and we are already looking forward to the 3rd jENS congress taking place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 17 to 21 September 2019. See you in Maastricht!

Your EFCNI team

Special thanks to MCA Scientific Events for their organisational support.

Please find here a selection of images. If you wish to receive more images, please e-mail us.

The 1st joint European Neonatal Societies Congress (jENS) took place in Budapest from 16 to 20 September 2015.
For the first time, the European societies in neonatology ESPR, ESN, UENPS, and EFCNI organised a joint congress together with the national peri- and neonatal societies (Hungarian Society of Perinatology and Obstetric, Anesthesiology Hungarian Society of Perinatology) and the international nursing organisation COINN. As one of the organising institutions, EFCNI had the honour to organise pre-courses and congress sessions with well-known experts from different fields. The excellent collaboration between all societies and the congress agency MCA made this exceptional and well-organised congress a doubtlessly memorable event for the more than 2,500 participants who represented 83 countries.

The congress offered a multifaceted programme for different target groups such as clinicians, nurses, researchers, parents and patient representatives. Its wide range of content included best-practice sharing, newest research, policy issues and ethical questions. The mix of well-renowned speakers and young researchers ensured fascinating presentations and lively discussions. Particularly remarkable were the high attendance and active participation throughout the sessions. This was also supported by the successful integration of new technologies such as a congress app, electronic posters and congress TV for participation and information.

In addition to the interesting parallel sessions, the congress offered a festive opening event where top-notch speakers presented best practice and on the edge research, intriguing plenary sessions and excellent networking opportunities. The attractive exhibition showcased most recent technical developments and invited visitors to stay, to exchange and to discover.

A particular highlight of the congress’s networking opportunities was the networking dinner on a boat on the river Danube which in addition to stimulating conversations offered beautiful views of Budapest by night.

At the end of the congress, its closing ceremony highlighted current European and global challenges in neonatology and child health. The organising societies are happy about the great success of this first jENS congress and look forward to its next edition, the 2nd jENS congress in Venice, Italy, in October 2017.

Saturday, 11 September

Traditionally jENS starts with a set of pre-congress-courses, of which one is chaired by  EFCNI. This year we opened the pre-congress with a session on  “Dealing with parents in critical care decision”, discussing the challenging topic of ethical decision-making processes in neonatal care.  The day continued with a course on  “Meeting the parents’ needs”, with talks by Professor Jos Latour, Dr Fauzia Paize, Dr Lars Garten and Professor Dominic Wilkinson.  EFCNI’s chairwoman Silke Mader highlighted the parent perspective on how parents can be involved in making critical care decisions. Lastly, speeches by Professor Nicholas Embleton and Fernanda Sampaio de Cavalho rounded off the course.

Tuesday, 14 September

The first official day at jENS is always very special as the jENS awards are being celebrated, followed by an intriguing opening ceremony that usually sheds a whole different light on medicine and neonatology. At this years’ jENS awards the Congress Committee, comprising Prof. Charles C. Roehr (President of ESPR), Silke Mader (Chairwoman of EFCNI), and Prof. Corrado Moretti (President of the UENPS) honoured the commitment and work of Gorm Greisen (ESPR awardee), Ola Saugstad (UENPS awardee), and the Societa Italiana di Neonatolgia (SIN) and Vivere onlus (EFCNI awardee). EFCNI had the honour to award these two organisations as they have formed a powerful collaboration of healthcare professionals and parent representatives to implement the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health by translating the entire set of 96 standards into Italian and preparing their launch at a national congress in order to provide each NICU in Italy with a printed copy. This huge organisational challenge was made possible by the commitment of experts from all over Itlay who helped to realise this project even during the challenging times of the pandemic. “Overcoming the language barrier is such a big and such an important step towards the implementation of improved neonatal care”, stated Silke Mader in her speech.


Wednesday, 15 September

In EFCNI’s parallel session on improving quality of neonatal care, hosted by Silke Mader (Chairwoman of EFCNI) and Professor Nicoletta Iacovidou, the audience coul, amongst others, learn about the ICHOM Standard Set for Preterm and hospitalised newborns and the power of quality measurements. In the afternoon, EFCNI invited to another session on Newborn screening with a focus on Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), metabolic- and also hearing screening.

Thursday, 16 September

For everyone intrigued by the field of neonatal nutrition, our parallel session, chaired by Silke Mader and Professor Elisavet Diamanti, focusing on “Safe and optimal nutrition”, should not be missed. The session comprised highly relevant topics such as human milk diet, parenteral nutrition of very low birth weight infants, insights into a novel pasteurisation treatment for human milk and many more. Professor Christoph Fusch has dedicated his talk to introduce the audience to our newly developed toolkit for parenteral nutrition of preterm and sick newborns.
In workshop 3, hosted by Professor Luc Zimmermann, one had the opportunity to learn how video recordings can help auditing neonatal resuscitation and how other key technologies are for improving delivery room management of very preterm newborns. Then, join workshop no. 3 on safety, chaired by EFCNI’s medical director Professor Luc Zimmermann, and Dr Pierre Kuhn. For more input on patient safety, in the symposium, ‘The Golden Hour — European Resuscitation Council Guidelines for Newborns & Neonatal resuscitation with ECG monitoring’, supported by GE Healthcare, renowned expert Dr Tomasz Szczapa talked about the new European guidelines for resuscitation.

Friday, 17 September

“Taking care of newborns needing intensive care, coming from families in challenging situations” was the title of EFCNI’s 5th session. The chairs discussed together with experts and the digital attendees,  de-escalation strategies with parents, the effects of parent-provider communication during NICU stays, and how parents and staff experience the current visitation restrictions in NICUS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who wanted to dive deeper into the impacts of COVID-19 on neonatal care could attend the Corona Session. Hosted by Professor Boris Kramer (the Netherlands) and Silke Mader (Chairwoman of EFCNI) it gave reflected insights into the NICU situation during the pandemic. In this regard, Dr Johanna Kostenzer (Head of Scientific Affairs, EFCNI) also presented preliminary results of the global parent survey where more than 2100 parents from 56 countries shared their experiences of how care was provided to their hospitalised newborn during the pandemic. In addition to that, our digital booth also provided information on the impact of COVID-19 on other diseases such as RSV for istance.

Saturday, 18 September

The last day at jENS started early! In EFCNI’s parallel session on the long-term outcomes of preterm born infants, Jennifer Zeitlin (INSERM) starting with a presentation of the RECAP preterm cohort. The session also featured insights about parental bonding effects, music therapy and the predictive power of newborn neurobehaviour on cognitive and neurodevelopmental outcomes after preterm birth. For the first time, one of the speakers in this session was a former patient of the NICU: Juliëtte Kamphuis presented her case of being born preterm and receiving a BPD diagnosis (after being mis- and re-diagnosed several times over a time span of more than a decade) aged 40.  Her case makes clear that the late effects of preterm birth sometimes only become apparent after decades and even experts can struggle to interpret them correctly. The congress finished with a stunning closing session about artificial intelligence and how it may – and already does – enable a whole new spectrum of possibilities in neonatal care.

Sessions on-demand

If you missed any of the sessions or workshops, we have good news for you: all content has been recorded and registered attendees have the opportunity to re-watch sessions and workshops using their login data. For more information visit:

See you at jENS 2023!