Creating a sustainable network in biological and retrospective dosimetry that involves a large number of experienced laboratories throughout the European Union (EU) will significantly improve the accident and emergency response capabilities in case of a large-scale radiological emergency. A well-organised cooperative action involving EU laboratories will offer the best chance for fast and trustworthy dose assessments that are urgently needed in an emergency situation. To this end, the EC supports the establishment of a European network in biological dosimetry (RENEB). The RENEB project started in January 2012 involving cooperation of 23 organisations from 16 European countries. The purpose of RENEB is to increase the biodosimetry capacities in case of large-scale radiological emergency scenarios. The progress of the project since its inception is presented, comprising the consolidation process of the network with its operational platform, intercomparison exercises, training activities, proceedings in quality assurance and horizon scanning for new methods and partners. Additionally, the benefit of the network for the radiation research community as a whole is addressed.