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Guidelines for Catalyst: Influence

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Guidelines PDF available for download

Guidelines for participation in Catalyst: Influence

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) supports bilateral and multilateral partnerships in a variety of ways. A 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. The funding is delivered through four instruments: Influence, Leaders, Seeding and Strategic.

New Zealand’s ability to participate in some international research and policy initiatives is dependent on membership of international scientific unions and associations. Catalyst: Influence supports New Zealand science sector participation in and membership of key international science fora and targeted engagements that cannot be supported through other means.

Through Catalyst: Influence, Royal Society Te Apārangi (the Society) manages the country’s representation in more than forty international unions. This facilitates the sharing of New Zealand’s expertise worldwide and helps enable the international exchange of ideas (schedule of International Unions).

For memberships supported through Catalyst: Influence, the Society arranges for New Zealand delegates to be appointed, administers funding to help the appointed delegates attend international membership meetings, and helps with the dissemination of information from the international unions and science fora to benefit the New Zealand research sector.

On behalf of the New Zealand Government, the total funds available to support international union subscription fees and delegate travel support is approximately $185,000 (GST exclusive) per annum. 

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Objectives of Catalyst: Influence

The objectives of the Catalyst: Influence funding stream are to enable New Zealand participation in and memberships of international science unions and associations in order to:

  • Influence the directions of global and international research agendas to better align with New Zealand needs.
  • Increase the profile of New Zealand Science and Innovation and our ability to contribute to global science challenges.

For information on the assessment criteria applied to Catalyst: Influence, please see Appendix 1.

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It should be noted that as this programme is subject to Government Budget decisions, no particular level of funding is guaranteed and all commitments made or implied in the guidelines are subject to suitable appropriations being made by the New Zealand Government.

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Roles and Responsibilities

Royal Society Te Apārangi

  • Appoint New Zealand delegates to international unions
  • Liaise with MBIE over memberships to international unions
  • Pay international union fees in accordance with MBIE and the Society funding schedule
  • Evaluate the benefits of the supported memberships in accordance with the assessment criteria for Catalyst: Influence (Appendix 1)
  • Subject to funding being available, support New Zealand representatives attending membership meetings overseas, but only where this activity cannot be financially supported through any other means.
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The New Zealand organisation/national committee

  • Recommend delegates to the Society
  • Support the delegate in their duties
  • Promote Union activities and promulgate information to New Zealand interested parties
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The New Zealand delegate

Responsibilities of the New Zealand delegates vary greatly between the different unions and associations; however they are usually related to the following:

  • Consult with appropriate New Zealand-based organisation(s)/national committee on New Zealand’s “stance on issues” prior to attendance of international union meetings
  • Vote on Union proposals
  • Attend the General Assembly (GA)
  • Interact with the Union and its Executive Body
  • Report on activities:

Annual report on Union activities and correlated interactions/opportunities for engagement with the New Zealand research community, and

Post-General Assembly (within a month of the GA)

  • Promote international union information and activities to the New Zealand research community

In addition, the New Zealand delegate is expected to consult with the appropriate New Zealand-based organisation(s)/national committee to formulate a brief bullet point document, which outlines issues of specific relevance to New Zealand, and how to maximise benefits from the International Union membership. The relevance of the document should be considered annually as part of the annual report.


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Appointment of New Zealand delegates

Appointment of New Zealand delegates

When appointing delegates, the Society will consider criteria 3 of the Catalyst: Influence Assessment criteria (Appendix 1). The Society may furthermore have consideration for equity and diversity, and continuity of availability for a number of years.

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Domain-based unions and multi-disciplinary international academies

The Society is seen to be best positioned to hold and directly manage the membership for domain-based unions and multi-disciplinary international academies, which do not have direct association with a New Zealand discipline-based organisation.  The appointment of the New Zealand delegate will therefore be the responsibility of the Society acting alone, and the delegate will normally be a present or recent Society Council member or a senior staff member.

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Single discipline international unions or Interdisciplinary bodies

  • New Zealand delegates are appointed by the Society;
  • Where the international union is represented by a single New Zealand organisation, this organisation is responsible for recommending a delegate to be appointed by the Society. There is no requirement that the recommended delegate is a member of the respective New Zealand organisation.
  • Where the international union is represented by several New Zealand organisations the Society will seek advice from these prior to appointing the New Zealand delegate
  • If a New Zealand delegate wishes to stand down from their post, they must notify the Society in writing in order that the Union Secretariat may be informed. The Society shall then initiate the process of appointing a new delegate
  • The New Zealand delegate is normally appointed for a period of 4 years. After this time, the Society shall either re-confirm the appointment of the New Zealand delegate after discussions with the associated New Zealand organisation(s) and the delegate, or initiate the process of appointing a new delegate.
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National committees

Where no New Zealand organisation(s) is naturally affiliated with the international union membership supported under Catalyst: Influence, the Society may request the formation of a national committee, representing major interested parties. The committee must meet at least annually (either in person or by electronic means) and undertake the responsibilities described above under Roles and Responsibilities.

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Hosting a National Committee Meeting

Support for hosting a National Committee Meeting held in New Zealand is available provided that:

  • the National Committee exists solely for the purpose of managing and supporting the international union membership supported under Catalyst Influence, and is not closely linked to any other New Zealand organisation (e.g. a New Zealand scientific union);
  • the meeting is unable to take place in conjunction with another existing meeting;
  • the Society is convinced that the meeting cannot be supported through other means. 

National Committee’s that are seeking financial support of this nature should email a request to: International.Applications@royalsociety.org.nz. The email should briefly outline the meeting details (venue/host/ proposed date etc.); list of participants and costs associated with hosting the meeting. Up to $1,000 funding is available for costs incurred to hold the meeting

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Delegate travel support

New Zealand delegates to international unions supported under Catalyst: Influence can apply for travel support of up to $5,000 (GST exclusive) to support attendance at the International Union General Assembly:

  • Funding to support the delegate attending an international union meeting is subject to costs incurred, and is available at any time throughout the year until exhausted.
  • Delegates wishing to apply for travel support must seek approval from the Society prior to the meeting by submitting the delegate travel support application form to International.Applications@royalsociety.org.nz.
  • The application form is available for download on the Catalyst: Influence travel support for national delegates.
  • The fund is administered on a first-come first-serve basis and application to the fund does not guarantee its award.
  • Delegates are required to submit a report on the outcomes of the meeting to the Society within a month after returning to New Zealand.
  • The applicant must meet the criteria for travel support listed below.

In making its decision to support delegate travel, the Society may consider the Catalyst: Influence assessment criteria (1 & 2), and an equal distribution of funds over time across all supported Unions.

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Eligibility Criteria for travel funding

To be eligible to apply for travel support fund, applicants must:

  • Be the New Zealand delegate to an international union identified as supported in Appendix 2: “Schedule of International Unions” or on the Society’s website. In the instance where a delegate is unable to travel, a substitute delegate may apply for delegate travel support after prior approval by the Society, the delegate, and the relevant New Zealand union/national committee;
  • Have consulted on New Zealand’s “stance on issues” prior to attendance of International Union meetings; and
  • Be attending a meeting funded through, and organised by, the delegate’s international union. The event must also have some activity involving the discussion or voting on international union processes.
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Additional Information

Communications assistance available from Royal Society Te Apārangi

If requested, the Society can help delegates communicate to the New Zealand Science community using our weekly e-newsletter Alert (e.g. information relating to events, funding opportunities, council elections etc.). Please send submissions to alert.editor@royalsociety.org.nz

Subject to sufficient editorial material being available, the Society will additionally publish a Catalyst: Influence e-newsletter.

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Hosting a General Assembly in New Zealand

If you are interested in putting forward a bid to host a conference or General Assembly in New Zealand Tourism New Zealand may be able to offer support with regard to preparing bid documents, feasibility case study and tourism collateral.

Please contact Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team on businessevents@tnz.govt.nz

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Appendix 1: Assessment criteria for Catalyst: Influence



Supports New Zealand science sector participation in and membership of key international science fora and targeted engagement that cannot be supported through other means.


  • To influence the directions of global and international research agendas to better align with New Zealand needs.
  • To increase the profile of New Zealand Science and Innovation and our ability to contribute to global science challenges.



Measured by:

1. The activity will provide New Zealand with an opportunity for genuine and substantive influence on the global research agenda for New Zealand’s benefit


  • Proposed engagements or activities involve recognised global science and innovation leaders, the connections with whom could benefit New Zealand in a substantive manner.


2. The activity will lead to a greater profile for New Zealand S&I, or to not participate would be substantially detrimental to New Zealand’s reputation and science and innovation interests
  • Demonstration of how the activity will advance New Zealand’s reputation as a producer of high quality science, or open new opportunities for collaboration in strategically important fields;
  • A follow-up plan to leverage off the opportunities created through the proposed engagement clearly outlined; and/or
  • Ability to articulate and represent what the New Zealand science sector has to offer to international researchers, with a view to creating potential partnerships, or cementing New Zealand’s involvement in the activity, over the long-term.


3. The participant(s) have the skills and status to contribute in an effective manner at an international level
  • The participant has identified or has the ability to identify science and innovation opportunities of which the New Zealand science community can take advantage through the proposed engagements or activities;
  • The participant has the willingness and ability to disseminate or share new networks and knowledge gained from the funded engagement with relevant New Zealand organisations and individuals;
  • Track record of the participant in an international setting, including reputation and recognition amongst international peers;
  • The participant has the abilities and skills to effectively influence the agenda, direction and scope of international research in relevant fields to advance New Zealand’s interest through the funded activities.


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Appendix 2: Schedule of International Unions supported under Catalyst: Influence

(As of 01 May 2020)

 Union Name


Asian Crystallographic Association


Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia


Association of Asian Social Science Research Council


Committee on Data – International Science Council


Committee on Space Research


International Astronomical Union


International Commission for Optics


International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technology Sciences


International Council of Associations for Science Education


International Geographic Union


International Institute of Refrigeration


International Mathematical Union


International Palaeontological Association


International Science Council


International Union of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


International Union of Biological Sciences


International Union of Crystallography


International Union of Food Science & Technology


International Union of Geodesy & Geophysics


International Union of Geological Sciences


International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST)

- Division of History Science and Technology

 International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IUHPST)

- Division of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and Technology 


International Union of Microbiological Societies


International Union of Nutritional Sciences


International Union of Physiological Sciences


International Union for Pure & Applied Biophysics


International Union for Pure & Applied Chemistry


International Union for Pure & Applied Physics


International Union for Quaternary Research


International Union of Radio Science


International Union of Soil Science


International Union of Theoretical & Applied Mechanics


Pacific Science Association


Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research


Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research


Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics


Union Académique Internationale


World Climate Research Programme


World Data System




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