This paper aims to explore the role of each country in the health thematic area of the 6th Framework Programme (6FP) of the
EU. We try to explain how the collaborative research processes are generated in a research programme using social network
analysis (SNA) tools. We have modelled a one-mode network set up by 2,132 organizations which participate in 601 research
projects. This network was shrunk at the country level, obtaining a network of 31 countries. Results show that there is a
strong relationship between R&D indicators and the structural position of each country in the network. The paper concludes
that the SNA techniques are a suitable tool to assess the country performance in the EU research programmes.