New Zealand

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the establishment of new cooperation projects through joint workshops, fact-finding missions and the exchange of scientists.

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© Hans-Jörg Stähle / DLR

Funding opportunities

In principle, applications for project funding can only be submitted on the basis of funding announcements in which New Zealand is named as a target country.

Political framework

An intergovernmental agreement on scientific and technological cooperation (STC) has been in place with New Zealand since 1977. In 2007, the then Federal Minister Annette Schavan signed an agreement with her New Zealand counterpart Steve Maharey. 'We want to strengthen the science and research cooperation with joint projects', Schavan said. Minister Maharey also emphasized the importance of the agreement: 'The Scientific cooperation is one of the most important future areas for our partnership, which we want to expand further.'

Priorities of the cooperation

The cooperation between Germany and New Zealand continues to exist on a broad basis of different research topics. The top scientists of the two countries are particularly successful in the areas of

  • environmental sciences with particular emphasis on climate change
  • nutrition, agricultural sciences and biotechnology
  • geo, marine and polar research

On the occasion of the visit of the BMBF delegation in December 2018, it was agreed to especially focus on climate and climate change research for the future cooperation. In addition, scholarship programs support the exchange of students and young scientists between the two countries extremely successfully.

Highlights of the bilateral cooperation

Recording the rotational speed of the Earth

The project to record the variations in the rotational speed of the Earth using laser gyroscopes - a joint project of TU Munich and the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand as well as the Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, USA - is one highly successful longer-term cooperation with New Zealand.

Marine research

Another example of the excellent cooperation with researchers from New Zealand is marine research, particularly the joint research in the context of the research cruises of RV 'Sonne' which regularly visits New Zealand, twice in 2017 alone.

Upon initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and after mutual high-ranking visits in 2004, New Zealand set up the “Julius von Haast Fellowship Fund”, a scholarship programme for German scientists which complements AvH scholarships. Discussions are currently focusing on intensifying the cooperation in nanotechnology, IT and communication technology and biotechnology/health research, including in the context of European funding programmes. New Zealand’s R&D cooperation with Europe is significantly impacted by a science posting with the New Zealand embassy in Brussels and the embassy of New Zealand in Berlin.

Special activities of the International Bureau

The International Bureau (IB) has been responsible for implementing the bilateral STC with New Zealand since 1996. Commissioned by the BMBF, the International Bureau has the objective of expanding the network of German universities, research institutions and companies with New Zealand and as such makes a contribution to implementing the international dimension of the BMBF’s specialised programmes.

The IB’s cooperation with New Zealand has the aim of

  • facilitating the establishment of connections in the field of own research priorities, particularly climate research and oceanography,
  • supporting the exchange of scientists between the two countries, particularly by distributing information relating to the programmes of the DAAD, the AvH and the New Zealand Julius von Haast programme,
  • granting scientists access to unique research institutions and laboratories, and
  • demonstrating German technology in New Zealand in order to set up economic relations based on this.

From 2007 to 2017 the Royal Society, the BMBF and the BMEL jointly supported nearly 140 projects.

In April 2019 BMBF and the Royal Society of New Zealand published a joint call for proposals in the following areas:

  1. Climate Research with a special focus on the physical properties of the climate system and climate change, including paleo climate, carbon cycle, greenhouse gases and aerosols
  2. Adaptation to climate change including new materials and procedures, new ways of water management, sustainable agriculture and sustainable cities.

For the first time, funding now also includes joint research. From 1 April 2020, three projects will be funded by the BMBF / IB for two years. Projects by the University of Leipzig and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) are working with partners at the University of Auckland and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) on the influence of aerosols on cloud formation and resolution, a process that has so far been illustrated insufficiently in the climate models. The third project, in which the University of Marburg works together with the University of Auckland, examines the causes and consequences of climate-induced migration in the South Pacific region, an urgent socio-political challenge for the partner country New Zealand.