International science partnerships

This page outlines the major bilateral and multilateral science and innovation partnerships we support to better connect New Zealand’s science system to the rest of the world.

We support these bilateral and multilateral partnerships in a variety of ways. One significant tool is the Catalyst Fund. The fund supports activities that initiate, develop and foster collaborations leveraging international science and innovation for New Zealand’s benefit.

More information on the fund and current funding opportunities is on the Catalyst Fund page

Memorandum of arrangement relating to science and research cooperation between MBIE and the Chinese Academy of Sciences

MBIE and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) signed a Memorandum of Arrangement (MoA) to enable greater science and research collaboration between New Zealand and China on 1 April 2019. Through the Arrangement, MBIE and CAS will support jointly beneficial research cooperation, and encourage the participation of researchers from across New Zealand’s science system and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in relevant cooperative projects.

CAS is the world’s largest research organisation, comprising around 60,000 researchers working in over 100 affiliated research institutes and centres, and three universities. China is rapidly becoming a major contributor to global science and the MoA is an important step in further deepening New Zealand’s science relationship with China.

Memorandum of arrangement relating to science and research cooperation between MBIE and the Chinese Academy of Sciences [PDF, 273 KB]

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

On 17 February 2017 New Zealand and Australia signed a groundbreaking bilateral international science treaty: The Australia–New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement.

The Agreement aims to deliver collaboration across the innovation and science systems and between researchers and innovative companies on both sides of the Tasman. It will provide a valuable focal point for collaboration which is vital to both Australia and New Zealand economic growth.

The Australia–New Zealand Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement [PDF, 52 KB] 

Summary of Inital Work Programme supporting the Agreement [PDF, 102 KB]

The New Zealand – UK Research, Science and Innovation Arrangement

In 2022, New Zealand and the UK signed a Research, Science, and Innovation Cooperation Arrangement, providing a framework and focus for the bilateral relationship following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

In 2024, a work programme of cooperative activities was agreed to sit under this Arrangement, providing a pathway to deepen the integration and alignment of our science systems. Under this work programme, agreed priority areas are:

  1. Quantum technologies
  2. Oceans and climate change
  3. Aerospace technologies
  4. Agritech
  5. Bioengineering

Under this work programme New Zealand and the UK, noting our shared status as associated countries to Horizon Europe, will also work to identify opportunities for our researchers to collaborate within Pillar II of this programme.

New Zealand-Germany Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement

New Zealand and Germany enjoy a strong and long-standing research relationship, underpinned by the 1977 New Zealand-Germany Science and Technology Agreement. The agreement is administered by MBIE and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

Dr Regina Eisert is our Germany Science and Innovation Coordinator. She is responsible for establishing and strengthening bilateral collaboration in a wide range of mutually beneficial research fields.


The Julius von Haast Fellowship is intended as a counterpart to the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, which is an equivalent scheme run in Germany.

The Julius von Haast Fellowship is offered to internationally recognised German researchers to travel to New Zealand to collaborate with their New Zealand colleagues, and to establish, or enhance, collaborative research of benefit to both countries. The application process for the Fellowship is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand – Te Apārangi.

Julius von Haast Fellowship(external link) —

In 2018, MBIE and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) agreed to fund a joint research project in the areas of propulsion, space communications and Synthetic Aperture Radar Technologies.

View funded projects:

Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-DLR Joint Research Programme December 2020

In 2020, MBIE and BMBF agreed to jointly fund a research programme on green hydrogen.

View funded projects:

Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand-Germany Green Hydrogen Research Programme

Catalyst: Seeding provides up to $80,000 in total for up to 2 years for travel, research expenses and workshop hosting expenses with German research partners. Calls open annually in April, and close in July. The application process is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand – Te Apārangi.

Funding overview(external link) —

Other international agreements

We also work with international partners to coordinate 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:

China-New Zealand 5-Year Roadmap 2023-2027 [PDF, 717 KB]

US-NZ Statement of Principles for Cooperation on Geothermal Research and Development [PDF, 100 KB] 

NZ-Europe Commission 2014-16 Science And Technology Cooperation Roadmap [PDF, 431 KB] 

China-NZ SRA Arrangement [PDF, 1.2 MB] 

DHS S&T Arrangement [PDF, 124 KB] 

US-NZ JCM Roadmap 2010 [PDF, 48 KB] 

US-NZ JCM Action Plan 2012-2014 [PDF, 114 KB] 

International organisations we participate in

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

  • Commonwealth State and Territories Advisory Council on Innovation (CSTACI)
  • Global Research Council
  • The Human Frontiers Science Programme
  • OECD Global Science Forum
  • OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP)
  • Research Programme on Biological Resources in Agriculture of the OECD
  • Small Advanced Economies 
  • APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation.

In addition, the Royal Society of New Zealand manages the country’s representation in and membership of more than 30 international scientific unions, supported with funding from our 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.

Royal Society | Te Apārangi(external link)

Overseas representatives

We have 3 science and innovation representatives based overseas. They are responsible for fostering collaborations between New Zealand and their regions of responsibility – Europe, China and North America (USA and Canada).


Isaac Holliss

Counsellor, Science and Innovation, Europe

New Zealand Mission to the European Union, Brussels, Belgium


Marta Mager

Counsellor, Science and Innovation, USA and Canada

New Zealand Embassy, Washington D.C. USA


Dr Ron Xavier

Counsellor, Science and Innovation, China

New Zealand Embassy, Beijing, China


What they do

Our overseas science and innovation representatives are responsible for making an important contribution to advancing the internationalisation of New Zealand’s science and innovation by supporting the implementation of major projects on the work programme of the Science, Innovation & International Branch.

As part of our International Science Partnerships Team, they are responsible for developing connections with governments, science and policy organisations as well as businesses to advance opportunities for New Zealand’s science and innovation.

Our European and US Counsellors also represent the New Zealand Space Agency overseas.

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

Last updated: 26 September 2023