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FAQ related to Catalyst applications and travel restrictions

FAQ for Catalyst applications

How do Covid-19-related travel restrictions impact applications for Catalyst: Seeding and Catalyst: Leaders?

Despite the current Covid-19-related restrictions on international travel, you can still apply for Catalyst: Seeding and Catalyst: Leaders grant. The following options are available for you to work around the travel restrictions:

Project start date

Successful applicants have up to one year after the call closing date to start their project. If the start of your project is dependent on international travel, we recommend that you set the starting date in your application as late as possible. If needed, you are also allowed to change the starting date of your project after you have been awarded the grant as long as the projects still starts within a year after the closing date.

Allocating budgeted travel funding to other allowable research expenses

If Covid-19-related travel restrictions prevent you or your international collaborator(s) from undertaking planned travel exchanges, you are allowed to re-allocate this funding for other allowable research expenses (see list below) related to your Catalyst contract. You are allowed to do this without a formal contract variation on the condition that your international collaborator continues to be involved in the project, e.g. through video meetings, exchange of material etc.

Contract extensions

If your contracted Catalyst programme has been impacted by Covid-19 (e.g. through the inability to undertake international travel, lockdowns or other impacts), we can grant you a contract extension of up to 12 months. If you fulfil certain criteria, you may be able to extend your contract further after the initial extension. For more information, see Catalyst Contracting and Variations.


How should I write my application considering the current travel restrictions?

Reviewers are made aware that successful applicants can adjust the start date of their project after the assessment has taken place (as discussed above). Still, if the early phase of your projects relies on international exchanges, we recommend that you chose a late start date.

With regard to planned exchanges, you should enter the exchanges that are needed for the project to be successful and build enduring collaborations. The timing of these exchanges can be adjusted later. However, we recommend that you are cognisant of what travel restrictions are in place and try to plan your travel exchanges accordingly as best as possible.   


Allowable and non-allowable expenses for Catalyst: Seeding and Catalyst: Leaders*

Allowable Expenses
Expenses allowed under this Programme include the following, in connection with the Project:

Expenses for Research Exchanges
Expenses for flights at the lowest possible rate, accommodation, visa, travel insurance, ground transport, and meal expenses are permitted and should be based on the rules of the institution with which the individual undertaking the activity is affiliated. Research exchanges can involve both staff and PhDs. The cost of buying carbon offsets is a legitimate expense where those carbon offsets are directly related to the project travel activities.

New Zealand quarantine fees for Catalyst project team members visiting, or returning to, New Zealand for activities related to their funded Catalyst project, is an allowable expense.

Expenses for holding symposiums, seminars and meetings
Expenses related to organising symposiums, hosting workshops and similar events are permitted (for example, consumables, printing and binding expenses, honoraria, transportation and telecommunications fees, meeting fees (excluding expenses for alcoholic beverages)).

Expenses for research activities

Expenses for consumables and other research expenses.

Non-Allowable Expenses
Funding for overheads, salaries, equipment purchase and depreciation, student fees, scholarships, or conference fees are not supported under this Programme.


*Similar rules apply to the research and travel allowance for the International Leader Fellowship and Julius von Haast Fellowship. (Note: this list is not relevant to the Catalyst: Leaders New Zealand-China Scientist Exchange programme and the JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship programme, which both have specific directions for how the funding will be used).