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ESC Strategic Plan 2016-2020

Supporting our mission to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease

This five-year strategic plan ensures that our society remains fully aligned with its mission and that our strategic priorities remain relevant to a changing world.



ESC Strategic Drivers

Our mission

To reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease

Our vision

To be recognised as the leading authority for scientific and educational programmes which improve cardiovascular health.

To achieve this, the ESC aims to be:

  • The prime resource for professional development of Health Care Professionals in CVD
  • The leading scientific authority in the cardiovascular field
  • The advocate of the highest standards of CV care for patients and promoter of CV Health
  • The voice of ESC members (individual and institutional)
  • A key facilitator of excellence in Research and Innovation

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Five focus areas

To support our mission in the coming years, the ESC focuses on five key areas:

Membership | Research | Education | Congresses | Advocacy

  • Individual membership to better engage and support the healthcare professional Advocacy
  • An adaptive congress model to meet shifts in participant needs retains a critical role to reach our objectives
  • The formation and expansion of leading continuing education tools
  • The creation of a research Think Tank to lead innovation efforts and coordinate research initiatives
  • Enhanced advocacy capabilities to ensure we reach all external stakeholders who can help shape policies in support of better cardiovascular health

Focus Area Highlights

Congresses: Bringing together the best minds and the best science in cardiovascular medicine.


ESC congresses are recognised for their broad global reach and their cutting edge scientific programmes which often change the way clinicians practice medicine.
We organise 10 cardiology congresses each year across the main sub-specialty areas. Our award-winning flagship event, ESC Congress, is the largest and most influential cardiovascular assembly in the world, attracting more than 30 000 participants each year. It is the pivotal event in the cardiology calendar, allowing healthcare professionals to keep up to date on the latest science while networking with their peers from different countries.

We will adapt the format of our congresses to better address the needs of new and diverse audiences, including the creation of a “virtual congress” with online streaming to remain relevant and accessible to a growing number of healthcare professionals.

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Membership: Engage with cardiovascular professionals to grow our community


A new, direct membership approach for health care professionals is an integral part of the ESC’s strategic plan.
It aims to improve members’ access to the latest science, best practices, education and networking to advance research and patient outcomes.

The ESC has a long-standing institutional membership and members of its 56 National Cardiac Societies and dedicated sub-specialty communities automatically qualify for ESC membership. The new membership plan unveiled in August 2016, is open to any and all healthcare professionals eager to more fully participate in the ESC community and all it offers.

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Education: Deliver world-class learning and professional development


The ESC will strengthen its capabilities to deliver robust, unbiased, education programmes built on a strong, evidence-based foundation so patients can receive the best care possible.

We are leading a revolution in medicine by producing impactful, needs-driven education; analysing what is happening -- and not happening -- in cardiology trends today; and surveying healthcare professionals on what they believe is preventing or promoting best patient outcomes. Continued needs-assessment initiatives will ensure that ESC training and lifelong learning programmes and content properly reflect the requirements of cardiology professionals in a rapidly changing profession.

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Research: Encouraging excellence and managing innovation


The ESC is a source of unbiased, real-life data that illustrate what’s happening in cardiology today.
Our key aims in this area include incubation, innovation, and management of world-class cardiovascular-related research programmes. We are also focussed on the prioritisation of research topics that address the unmet needs of cardiovascular medicine. Ultimately we want to make sure that research in the cardiovascular field is implemented on a more efficient, effective and timely basis to improve patient outcomes.

The ESC will increase its capacity to provide decision makers, EU authorities and funding organisations with access to its unparalleled cardiovascular science , thereby helping them:

  1. Shape the research regulatory environment for more effective translation of experimental findings and safer, more streamlined and affordable clinical research;
  2. Select priorities among projects.

Research excellence will be promoted by providing state-of-the-art training in research methods, design, and implementation and by funding, or contributing to, scholarship programmes in European centres of research excellence.

Activities will address the complete research life cycle; from basic science through applied and clinical research, epidemiological studies, to health economics.

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Advocacy: Leverage our knowledge, network and influence to promote high quality health care and shape an environment favourable to cardiovascular health


The ESC advocacy programme aims to push cardiovascular health up the policy agenda and underline the need to reduce loss of life and suffering We work with related health organisations as well as other stakeholders and policy making bodies whose decisions have a direct impact on the prevention, treatment and management of cardiovascular disease.

The ESC strives to shape policies that advance cardiovascular science and education, promote high quality healthcare, and encourage evidence-based decision making. Acting as the unified voice in cardiology, the ESC harnesses the latest science and best practices in cardiovascular care, research and education to drive change at policy and regulatory levels.

We benefit from a variety of diverse external relationships with health organisations, sister societies, decision-makers, regulatory authorities, press, industry and, increasingly, patients. Each is a vital partner in our efforts to realise significant progress and sustainable outcomes in the fight against cardiovascular disease.

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Strategic Trends

Throughout its activities, the ESC also addresses strategic trends that will impact cardiovascular medicine of tomorrow, clinical practice excellence and research innovation. These include:

  • Demographic shifts within the cardiology profession
  • Technology revolution in IT and social media
  • Globalisation and geographic reach
  • Increasing economic pressure in health care
  • Stringent regulatory environment