Abstract : This article studies Parameterised Networks of Automata (pNets) from a theoretical perspective. We illustrate the expressiveness of pNets by showing how to express a wide range of classical constructs of (value-passing) process calculi, but also how we can easily encode complex interaction patterns used in modern distributed systems. Our framework can model full systems, using (closed) hierarchies of pNets; we can also build (open) pNet systems expressing composition operators. Concerning more fundamental aspects, we define a strong bisimulation theory specifically for the pNet model, prove its properties, and illustrate it on some examples. One of the original aspects of the approach is to relate the compositional nature of pNets with the notion of bisimulation; this is exemplified by studying the properties of a flattening operator for pNets.