History of the ENS

Foundation of the ENS

The European Neurological Society ( ENS) was launched through the energy and vision of Professor Gérard Said. The decision to  embark upon this venture was taken by Gérard Said, Professor  (then Dr.) A. E. Harding and Professor P.K Thomas in early 1986 and finalized at the meeting of the International Congress of Neuromuscular Diseases held in Los Angeles in JuIy of that year. A group of interested individuals formed a provisional Executive Committee. It was  decided to model the ENS on the format of the American Academy of Neurology  (AAN) and to include a strong teaching component.  Eventually, G. Said had gathered a group of eight neurologists who met in Paris in 1986 founding the ENS.

Founding members and 1st Directing Committee of the inauguration period (1986-1988)


G. Franck (Vice-President), A.E. Harding (Director of the Teaching Program), W.I. McDonald (Director of the Scientific Programme), P. Rondot (Vice President), G. Said (Secretary General), A. Steck (Treasurer), P.K. Thomas (President), K.V. Toyka (Director of the Membership Committee) - coming from France, UK, Belgium, Switzerland and  Germany.

A common denominator of the majority of the early initiators was working experience in a US  academic medical environment and membership in the AAN. With this background, the principles were generally adopted and used to shape the new European society.

The first Directing  Committee, later named Executive Committee (EC), was composed of academically oriented clinician scientists who strongly believed in the idea of the ENS being a society with individual membership like the AAN.

In 1987, the World Federation of Neurology (WFN)  initiated the foundation of another European society, first named the European Society of Neurology (ESN) which held a first congress in Prague in 1988. The ESN, also named the "Prague Group" had roots in the Danube Symposia originally founded by Neurologists from Austria with Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European countries which were mostly part of the Soviet Union Warsaw Pact countries.  In 1990, the Pan European Society was transformed under a new constitution and bylaws into the European Federation of Neurological Societies (EFNS). The EFNS was not based on individual membership as the ENS but rather by delegates nominated by the national societies . By this time the aims of the ENS were well established and provided a forum for scientific exchange and offered teaching courses at its biannual meetings.