Sister Renal Centers

 This page contains the following sections:
General Information
SRC Program Format
First-Time and Upgrade Applications
Guide for current Sister Renal Centers
Sister Renal Center Program Committee

Discover the new Sister Renal Center Leaflet

Sister Renal Center Leaflet (pdf, 285.7 KB)

General Information

The Sister Renal Center (SRC) program was launched in 1997 to enhance co-operation between nephrology centers worldwide. Its mission was to advance the practice of nephrology in the developing world by linking renal units with centers of excellence.

The role of ISN was limited to the facilitation of the exchange of personnel and resources, and the encouragement of mutual clinical research. Some 150 sister pairs were registered upon launching the program, of which about 50 remain active to date. Six of the most active pairs were labeled "model renal sister centers" and received limited financial support.

The purpose of the SRC program, one of the ISN GO Programs' flagship programs, was redefined in June 2005 and more recently in November 2009, and its strategy further developed in several ways.

Sister Renal Centers in 2010 (xls, 108 KB)

The Kaunas-Lithuania SRC team.

SRC Program Format

Through the SRC program, ISN aims to help in building self-sufficient centers of excellence in the emerging world through different means of support and guidance (provided by advanced centers of nephrology). After the centers have 'graduated' from the program, they will be able:

    1.   to provide state-of-the-art clinical practice,

    2.   to become hubs for the diffusion of knowledge, training and implementation of disease-preventive strategies within their geographical outreach, and

    3.   potentially provide support to other centers within the same geographical region through the ISN SRC Trio Program

The essence of the SRC program is to promote the development of an "emerging" center (EC) through the goodwill and resources of a "supporting" center (SC). The benefits provided by the ISN are intended to reinforce and encourage the support that is provided by the partnering sister center. The hope is that the SRC pair will evolve a long lasting, stable and fruitful collaboration between two centers of excellence.

The SRC program consolidates and nurtures the relationship by providing a framework and certain benefits for the sister centers which depend on the C, B or A level status of the centers. The benefits are products of the synergized efforts between all other ISN GO Programs, activities and overall strategies.

Sister Pairs jointly enter the program at Level C (currently 21 pairs) for a period of 2 years. Level C centers receive U$1,500 of annual support from the ISN to help develop and support training links. They are eligible for an upgrade to a Level B position if the progress/activity reports are satisfactory. There are currently 8 Level B centers which each receive an annual budget of U$12,500 from the ISN to support initiatives such as training exchanges, CME courses and Senior Scholar visits to the emerging center. Level B centers can apply competitively for a upgrade to Level A after 2 years; these upgrades are reserved for those few pairs whose emerging sister centers show the most promise of development towards centers of excellence in their region. Failed upgrade requests from C to B and from B to A become Honorary C or Honorary B and have one additional chance to apply for an upgrade.

The graph below provides an overview of the validity and eligibility levels in the SRC Program:

The ultimate goal is for Level A centers to graduate and become true local centers of excellence for regional training and support. The SRC Program has devised a new SRC Trio Program which encourages graduating pairs to develop a combined supporting role for a new emerging center within the same region as the graduating emerging center. This new Trio system is designed to build on the 6 years of joint activity and development by the graduating SRC pair and translate that experience and knowledge to a new emerging center. We encourage all graduating SRC A pairs to seriously consider this option and build further on their excellent work (see figure).

In this system, the recently graduated Emerging Center would form a new pair with another local renal center and would act as the joint supporting center  with their original supporting center in the new trio.

The graduated Supporting Center in facts supports the newly formed SRC pair by providing guidance and other possible means of support.

The applications from SRC trios will be reviewed in the same competitive process as all other applicants and be subject to the consideration of balanced regional distribution.


Both Emerging Centers (EC) and Supporting Centers (SC) have much to gain from ISN's Sister Renal Center program.

The level and the items of SRC support depend on the C, B or A status of the Sister Pairs. The benefits for each level are detailed in the below list.

SRC Benefits per Levels (xls, 26.5 KB)

The SC will have the advantage of recognition in ISN media (such as: ISN news, e-update and website) and will be granted priority in ISN programs (such as: fellowships, senior scholarships, travel grants, CMEs and more). It can also capitalize on the strengths of its emerging sister in research based on local experience and locally prevailing clinical and environmental conditions.

First Time and Upgrade Applications

Any two renal centers/units can form an ISN Sister Renal Center pair provided that:
• At least one center/unit is in the developing world — considered the Emerging Center (EC).
• Both centers are chaired by an ISN member.

New Center pairs who would like to join the SRC program can apply for entry at level C; their goal should be to evolve through levels B and eventually A, after which they "graduate" from the program as self-supporting centers.

The application system is an online form that allows the main contact person at both centers to access and fill-out the application information. Please contact ISN staff at [email protected] in order to receive your common login details and to access the form. You are required to provide the 2 valid e-mail addresses of the contacts at each center. The application session is now open and will be closed on 30 September 2010!

If you wish to review the nature of the questions prior to submitting an online application you can view the below application and upgrade form.

PDF version of the Application Form (pdf, 203.6 KB)

PDF version of the Upgrade Form (pdf, 122.4 KB)

Guide for Current Sister Renal Centers

A detailed manual is included in the Welcome Package that is sent to the Sister Renal Centers after acceptance into their respective levels. The manuals include information on each item of support, as well as how to arrange for them. Access the manuals and forms in electronic format below:

Form 1: Annual Budget Request Form - 2011 (xls, 201 KB)

Form 2: Travel Grant Application (xls, 242 KB)

Form 3: SRC CME Application Form (xls, 247.5 KB)

Form 4: Mid-Year Progress Report 2010 (doc, 161 KB)

Manual for pairs at levels A & B (pdf, 336.9 KB)

Manual for pairs at Level C (pdf, 322.9 KB)

Sister Renal Center Program Committee

Chair: Paul Harden (UK) [email protected]

Gavin J. Becker (Australia)
Fatiu Arogundade (Nigeria)
Meguid El Nahas (United Kingdom)
Hai Yan Wang (China)
Lance Dworkin (USA)

Staff Contact

Ms Samantha Rens
ISN Global Outreach Programs Coordinator

ISN Global Operations Center
22-24 Rue du Luxembourg
1000 Brussels, Belgium
[email protected]




Secondary navigation

Main navigation

Sign in to
ISN Network


Explore ISN

Web feed

Explore The Gateway

Do your part for prevention

Donating to the Barbara L. and Robert W. Schrier Fund for Global Development in Nephrology is an easy way to help combat kidney disease around the world.

Extra navigation