Evaluation of CO-REACH: enhancing effective collaboration between Europe and China

18 November 2009

One of the most important outcomes of CO-REACH is a series of recommendations for the development of non-European country ERA-NETs in the future, concluded River Path Associates in their External Evaluation Report.

CO-REACH is a network of European science and technology policy and funding organisations. It aims to enhance collaborative research projects with institutions in China.

River Path Associates carried out an independent external evaluation during the summer of 2009. CO-REACH publishes its External Evaluation Report on 11 November.
>River Path Associates based their findings on background research and subsequent two-part consultations, which consisted of 36 one-to-one interviews with key stakeholders and 52 responses to an online questionnaire. The report covers all aspects of CO-REACH: policies, structures, activities and processes.
>CO-REACH has achieved many of its goals. Its effects may be felt among researchers in both Europe and China for some time to come. Considering the European partnership, River Path Associates found that the strategic importance of China as a partner was the common driving motivation. Looking at the work package structure and its efficacy, they found that all actions, with the exception of a second pilot call, have been achieved. However, collaboration between a large number of European and Chinese partners seems to be quite a challenge.
>CO-REACH has experienced issues that were both serious and difficult to resolve. The result has been a network that its partners view with differing levels of satisfaction. However, all acknowledge that there are lessons to be taken from the partnership and applied to future non-European ('third') country ERA-NETs. Many of these issues can largely be attributed to the experimental nature of CO-REACH, the political importance of China as a partner and the fact that the Framework Programme 6 was not designed with third country ERA-NETs in mind. The observations and conclusions of River Path Associates can be added to this sequence. The findings and recommendations in the evaluation report are very useful for the CO-REACH consortium, as well as for the European Commission and other stakeholders. This positive evaluation will not only be valuable for any continuation of CO-REACH, but for future ERA-NETs as well.


CO-REACH is a network of European Science & Technology policy and funding organisations. It aims to enhance numbers of collaborative research projects with institutions in China in all fields of science. CO-REACH is one of the first ERA-NETs aimed at stimulating research collaboration with a third country. As such, CO-REACH is regarded as a pioneer in this field.

For additional information on the external evaluation report, please contact the CO-REACH secretariat

Anouk Tso (project co-ordinator)
>Kimberley Thiel (project officer)
>Esther Verboom (management assistant)
>Telephone: +31 20 551 0885
>E-mail info@co-reach.org
>Website website CO-REACH