Specialist training in medical microbiology across Europe in 2021 – An update on the actual training situation based on a survey

M. Doyle*, B. Boyle, C. Brennan, J. Holland, A. Mifsud, M. Hell, F. van Tiel, T.M. Leegaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Background: The importance of defining and establishing professional standards for Clinical Microbiology (CM) in Europe has long been highlighted, starting with the development of a European curriculum. The first European Curriculum in Medical Microbiology (MM) was adopted by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) council in 2017. Objectives: This paper assesses how training programmes in CM in Europe align with the European curriculum, just under 5 years after its introduction, and reviews what methods of assessment are in use to assess the CM trainees' progress during training programmes. Sources: Using an internet-based platform, a questionnaire was circulated to the full, associate and observer members of the UEMS MM section. Information collected related to the structure, content and delivery of CM training in the participating countries, as well as methods of assessment used to evaluate training progress. Content: Twenty-one countries responded, from a total of 30 countries invited to participate. All had a structured CM training programme, with a curriculum, dedicated trainers and a record of training activities. Fifteen countries require trainees to pass an exit examination, and over 60% of countries participate in continuous workplace-based assessment. Of the participating countries, 57% meet the European Training Requirements recommendation that duration of specialist training is 60 months. Regarding core competencies, all trainees gain experience in laboratory skills and infection prevention and control, but the emphasis on clinical management and antimicrobial stewardship is more varied across countries. Implications: The UEMS MM curriculum has been largely adopted by 21 countries within less than 5 years of ratification, which speaks optimistically to a future of standardized quality training across Europe. The introduction of a pilot European Examination in Clinical Microbiology in 2021 is the start of a pan-European assessment of the success of the implementation of this curriculum and the first step in quality assurance for CM training in Europe. Maeve Doyle, Clin Microbiol Infect 2021;27:1576 (c) 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1576-1580
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Curriculum
  • European union of medical specialists
  • Microbiology
  • Postgraduate training
  • European curriculum in medical microbiology

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