In contrast to airway diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma, and rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis, there has been little research and few clinical trials in bronchiectasis. Guidelines are primarily based on expert opinion and treatment is challenging because of the heterogeneous nature of the disease.

In an effort to address decades of underinvestment in bronchiectasis research, education and clinical care, the European Multicentre Bronchiectasis Audit and Research Collaboration (EMBARC) was established in 2012 as a collaborative pan-European network to bring together bronchiectasis researchers. The European Respiratory Society officially funded EMBARC in 2013 as a Clinical Research Collaboration, providing support and infrastructure to allow the project to grow.

EMBARC has now established an international bronchiectasis registry that is active in more than 30 countries both within and outside Europe. Beyond the registry, the network participates in designing and facilitating clinical trials, has set international research priorities, promotes education and has participated in producing the first international bronchiectasis guidelines. This manuscript article the development, structure and achievements of EMBARC from 2012 to 2017.

Educational aims

To understand the role of Clinical Research Collaborations as the major way in which the European Respiratory Society can stimulate clinical research in different disease areas

To understand some of the key features of successful disease registries

To review key epidemiological, clinical and translational studies of bronchiectasis contributed by the European Multicentre Bronchiectasis Audit and Research Collaboration (EMBARC) project in the past 5 years

To understand the key research priorities identified by EMBARC for the next 5 years