International science partnerships

International science and innovation links are a key part of the Government’s plan to improve economic performance and increase New Zealanders’ wealth and wellbeing. MBIE takes a leadership role in establishing and maintaining key bilateral and multilateral science and innovation partnerships to better connect New Zealand’s science system to the rest of the world.

MBIE supports these bilateral and multilateral partnerships in a variety of ways. One key tool is the Catalyst Fund. The Catalyst Fund supports activities that initiate, develop and foster collaborations leveraging international science and innovation for New Zealand’s benefit. Visit our Catalyst Fund page for more information on the fund and current funding opportunities

The Australia – New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement

New Zealand and Australia signed on 17 February 2017 a ground breaking bilateral international science treaty, aimed at delivering important collaboration across the innovation and science systems and between researchers and innovative companies on both sides of the Tasman.

The Agreement sets out a work programme that will provide a valuable focus-point for collaboration which is vital to both Australia and New Zealand economic growth.


Other international agreements

MBIE also works with international partners to co-ordinate and support science and innovation collaborations. The European Commission, China and the United States are examples of major partners. Our current agreed cooperation frameworks are provided below:

MBIE also strengthens New Zealand's science and innovation links at the multilateral level through participation in the following international organisations and groups.

In addition, the Royal Society of New Zealand manages the country’s representation in and membership of more than thirty international scientific unions, supported with funding from MBIE’s Catalyst: Leaders Fund. These memberships facilitate the sharing of New Zealand’s expertise worldwide.

Further information about the scientific unions to which New Zealand belongs can be found on the Royal Society’s website.

Overseas representatives

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has three science and innovation representatives based overseas. They are responsible for fostering collaborations between New Zealand and their regions of responsibility – the European Union, China and North America (USA and Canada).


Currently Vacant

Counsellor, European Union New Zealand Mission to the European Union Brussels, Belgium

Marta Mager

Counsellor, USA and Canada

New Zealand Embassy, Washington DC, USA

Al Ross

Al Ross

Counsellor, Science and Innovation, China

New Zealand Embassy, Beijing, China

Based in Beijing, Al acts as New Zealand’s science and innovation representative ‘on the ground’ in China. He works closely with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and other relevant bodies to ensure good scientific outcomes resulting in commercial opportunities, and to maximise collaboration between New Zealand and Chinese researchers, businesses and governments. His role also involves the wider promotion of New Zealand as a smart and innovative nation to key international stakeholders.

What our Counsellors do

Our Counsellors are focused on five main areas within their regions of responsibility:

  • To support the development and implementation of New Zealand’s bilateral science agreements in their overseas regions. This includes supporting increased engagement by New Zealand with the EU Framework Programme, and with bilateral cooperative programmes established with US, Canadian, or Chinese partners.
  • To forge new partnerships in priority areas for New Zealand in research, innovation and policy cooperation in their regions. This could mean facilitating collaborative agreements between New Zealand universities or Crown Research Institutes and counterpart international research institutions.
  • To exchange information about science and innovation policy developments to help develop best practice. 
  • To identify and create opportunities for collaboration, facilitate visits, or put together joint country workshops.
  • To support "NZ Inc" operations to ensure strong representation of science and innovation in the work of offshore posts in their regions.  For example, this could include working on joint programmes with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to support New Zealand technology-based companies establishing commercial connections in their regions.

Our Counsellors are a good contact point for both New Zealand organisations and those in their overseas regions that are seeking to increase cooperation between New Zealand and Europe, the USA, Canada, and China in the areas of government, industry and academia. 

Further information

To find out more about New Zealand’s International Science Partnerships or to get in touch with one of our counsellors, please contact us by email at