75 Mo-V-Nb mixed oxide catalysts with a broad range of compositions were prepared by a simple evaporation method, and were screened for the ethane oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) reaction. The compositions of these 75 catalysts were systematically changed by varying the Nb loading, and the Mo/V molar ratio. Characterization by XRD, XPS, H2-TPR and SEM revealed that an intimate structure is formed among the 3 components. The strong interaction among different components leads to the formation of a new phase or an "intimate structure". The dependency of conversion and selectivity on the catalyst composition was clearly demonstrated from the results of high-throughput testing. The optimized Mo-V-Nb molar composition was confirmed to be composed of a Nb content of 4-8%, a Mo content of 70-83%, and a V content of 12-25%. The enhanced catalytic performance of the mixed oxides is obviously due to the synergistic effects of the different components. The optimized compositions for ethane ODH revealed in our high-throughput tests and the structural information provided by our characterization studies can serve as the starting point for future efforts to improve the catalytic performance of Mo-V-Nb oxides. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.