This article is a compilation of the research carried out under EEC contract EN3V-0400-D at the Institut für Energieverfahrenstechnik in Jülich and at the Faculty of Chemical Technology and Materials Science, Delft, concerning the development and screening of copper/cobalt-based catalysts for the synthesis of alcohol mixtures from syngas. Analogous work, based on copper/zinc oxide/alumina catalysts, has been performed at the Faculty of Chemical Technology in Twente University at Enschede. This work is described in a companion paper. Comparative tests of several catalysts in a pressure micropulse reactor and in a plug flow tubular reactor, carried out at the Institut für Technische Chemie, TU Braunschweig, are presented in a second companion paper. In the discussion section of the present article the results obtained by the joint groups are compared with the initial objectives of the programme.