Royal Society Te Apārangi supports joint statement on climate change by Commonwealth academies of science

Royal Society Te Apārangi has joined science leaders from around the Commonwealth to call on their heads of government to use the best available evidence to guide action on climate change.

The call is part of a Consensus Statement on Climate Change, launched yesterday by several national academies and societies of science from around the Commonwealth, ahead of next month’s Commonwealth summit in Britain.

The statement, which is drawn from the consensus views of tens of thousands of scientists, marks the first time Commonwealth academies have come together to urge their governments to take further action to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases emissions during the second half of the 21st Century.

The president of Royal Society Te Apārangi, Professor Richard Bedford, said the greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments agreed to by 160 parties in the 2015 Paris Agreement are only the first step in a long journey.

“Even if all the country commitments from the Paris Agreement are met, the latest data shows that by the end of the century the global climate is likely to be 3°C above pre-industrial levels,” Professor Bedford said.

“This is substantially higher than the Paris target to limit warming to less than 2°C, and would have profound impacts affecting billions of people throughout the world.

“Here in the South Pacific, we are acutely aware of the risks of climate change and sea level rise to our Pacific Island neighbours and we urge all nations to take immediate action on climate change.”

Sustainability is one of the key themes to be discussed by Commonwealth leaders at the 2018 Commonwealth summit, with a particular focus on the resilience of developing and vulnerable countries to climate change.

“Recognising different capacities, challenges and priorities, the approaches of each nation will not be the same. But, they must be informed by the best available scientific evidence, monitoring and evaluation,” Professor Bedford said.

“In recent years we have produced three scientific reports on climate change in New Zealand, focussed on implications, opportunities for mitigation and the impacts on health, and Royal Society Te Apārangi stands ready to assist the New Zealand Government, and indeed broader Commonwealth efforts, by providing sound scientific advice on issues relating to climate change.”

Readers can view the Commonwealth Science Academies Consensus Statement on Climate Change [PDF 580.23 kb], including the list of signatories by country, and a video on the Consensus Statement and a video of Royal Society Te Apārangi support for the statement.

Follow and share with the hashtag #ClimateAction on social media.

You can also view recent reports and activities on climate change in New Zealand by Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi.




Expressions of interest called for Catalyst Fund reviewers

The Royal Society Te Apārangi is calling for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from experienced individuals wishing to assist with the assessment of proposals submitted to Catalyst: Leaders and Catalyst: Seeding.

Reviewers assist in the evaluation of proposals across all disciplines, and are required to have experience in one or more of the following categories:

  • a high level of professional expertise in a relevant field of science, technology or the humanities, and accompanying capacity to assess applications from a broad variety of research disciplines
  • understanding the key attributes that underpin high-performing international research collaborations
  • understanding the Government’s strategic priorities for New Zealand research.

The Catalyst Fund was established to support activities that initiate, develop and foster collaborations leveraging international science and innovation for New Zealand’s benefit.

It has four funding streams:

  • Catalyst: Influence
  • Catalyst: Leaders
  • Catalyst: Seeding
  • Catalyst: Strategic

Some  fund programmes are administered by the Health Research Council and the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

Prospective reviewers for the programmes administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand are asked to complete the brief Expression of Interest Form available online and submit to the Society along with their  CVs.

EOIs must be received no later than 5pm, Thursday 29 March 2018 to be considered in support of the current funding round.

The Society says it aims to ensure that each reviewer will review a maximum of 25 proposals, and that the review activity will not take more than one day.

More information on the Catalyst Fund Reviewer EOI can be found here. 

For submissions, related queries or further information, the Royal Society Te Apārangi Research Funding (International) team can be contacted at

 Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi

2018 science medals and awards – Royal Society is calling for nominations

The call for nominations for medals and awards being offered in 2018 by the Royal Society Te Apārangi – which was opened in mid-December – will close on 30 April.

The Academy Executive Committee is focused on increasing the diversity of nominations from under-represented groups, particularly with respect to gender, ethnicity and employment context.

  • Callaghan Medal – for outstanding contribution to science communication, in particular raising public awareness of the value of science to human progress;
  • Cooper Award – for emerging researchers in technology, applied sciences, and engineering research in New Zealand, awarded annually;
  • Dame Joan Metge Medal – for excellence and building relationships in the social science research community,
  • Hamilton Award – for the encouragement of early-career researchers currently based in New Zealand for scientific  research in New Zealand
  • Hatherton Award – for the best scientific paper by a PhD student at any New Zealand University in chemical sciences, physical sciences, or mathematical and information sciences
  • Hector Medal – for outstanding work in chemical, physical sciences, or mathematical and information sciences
  • Hercus Medal – for excellence in molecular and cellular sciences, biomedical science or clinical science and public health
  • Hutton Medal – for significantly advancing understanding in animal sciences, earth sciences or plant sciences
  • Jones Medal – is awarded biennially, for lifetime achievement in pure or applied mathematics or statistics by a person with substantial connections to New Zealand.
  • MacDiarmid Medal – for outstanding scientific research that demonstrates the potential for application to human benefit. Nominations of teams welcome.
  • Pickering Medal – to recognise excellence and innovation in the practical applications of technology. Nominations of teams welcome.
  • Rutherford Medal – for exceptional contributions to New Zealand society and culture through activities in the broad fields of science, mathematics, social science, and technology
  • Te Puāwaitanga Award – in recognition of research that has made an eminent and distinctive contribution to Te Ao Māori and Indigenous knowledge (new medal for 2018)
  • Thomson Medal – for outstanding contributions to the organisation, support and application of science and/or technology in New Zealand.

You can email Academy ( to submit a new nomination. An URL will be provided to access the web portal.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Professor Jim Skea to deliver public lecture on mitigating climate change

Committee on Climate Change portraits - 24/9/08.
Professor Jim Skea. 

The Royal Society Te Apārangi is to host Scottish Professor Jim Skea, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for a free public lecture to ascertain what science is telling us about the actions we can collectively take to reduce the rate of climate change.

The society notes the country’s recent experience with record high temperatures and severe weather events causing flood and coastal damage.

Professor Skea will discuss whether situations like these clearly relate to the effects of global warming.

Moreover, following the announcement that the United States plan to cease their participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement, he will offer policy and practical guidance into how New Zealand and the rest of the world need to manage the responsibility of mitigating climate change.

Professor Skea is the Chair of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London and Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III, the branch of the IPCC that looks at the actions which can be taken to reduce the rate of climate change.

A meeting for the IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land, one of three Special Reports that the IPCC will publish in the next two years, is being held in Christchurch the week starting 26 March 2018.

A video recording of this lecture will be made available shortly after the event.

  • Climate change: stormy weather ahead
  • Wellington | Te Papa, Soundings Theatre
  • 6pm Wednesday 21 March.

You can register here.

Rutherford Discovery Fellowships – 2018 funding round and roadshows announced

Applications for the 2018 funding round of the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships will open on Thursday, March 1.

Announced by the Government in May 2010, these fellowships will support the recipients for a five-year term and provide funding up to $160,000 a year (excl. GST).

The Government’s purpose in establishing the fellowships is to support the development of future research leaders, and assisting with the retention and repatriation of New Zealand’s talented early- to mid-career researchers.  

  •  Early- to mid-career researchers are researchers who have been conferred with their doctoral degree between three to eight years before the year in which the Fellowship is awarded. For the 2018 funding round the eligibility time frame is 1 January 2010 – 31 December 2015.
  •  Applicants must be either New Zealand citizens or applicants who have continuously resided in New Zealand for at least three months before their application and hold, or are deemed to hold, a New Zealand resident visa.
  • A web-based Proposals On-Line system will be used. Prospective applicants must first contact their research office coordinator to obtain login details for the web-based proposals portal.

Applications close on 12 April 2018.

Further information can be found on the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships page.

The Royal Society Te Apārangi will hold a series of Roadshows around the opening of the funding round, which will outline the application process and provide an opportunity for applicants to ask questions.

The first Roadshow will take place at Massey University, in Palmerston North, on Wednesday.

A list of the scheduled roadshow dates and venues can be found here. 


Royal Society encourages participation in gene editing workshops

Royal Society Te Apārangi is running workshops on how gene editing may impact on healthcare and pest management for those involved with these sectors.

The society is convening a multi-disciplinary panel to consider the potential uses and implications of gene editing in this country.

The first two discussion papers were released late last year.

The society says a valuable part of the process is receiving critical feedback from stakeholders on the two issues.

Anyone interested in attending one or both of the workshops in either Wellington, Christchurch or Auckland, are invited to contact Marc Rands, from the society’s Expert Advice team, to register:

Participation is encouraged because of the significance of the social, ethical, cultural, legal, scientific and economic challenges of gene editing technology for New Zealand.

Wellington – Royal Society Te Apārangi, Aronui Lecture Theatre
Tuesday 13 March
9:30-11:30am: Gene Editing in Healthcare
12:30-2:30pm: Gene Editing in Pest Control

Christchurch – Tait Technology Centre, Kauri Room
Wednesday 21 March
9:30-11:30am: Gene Editing in Healthcare
12:30-2:30pm: Gene Editing in Pest Control

Auckland – NIWA Auckland, Seminar Room
Wednesday 11 April
9:30-11:30am: Gene Editing in Healthcare
12:30-2:30pm: Gene Editing in Pest Control

Reminder about awards ceremony for NZ Research Honours

The Royal Society Te Apārangi is sounding a last call to scientists wanting to attend the presentation of the 2017 New Zealand Research Honours.

The honours recognise excellence and outstanding leaders from throughout New Zealand by awarding medals in research and applied research across all disciplines.

This is the final week to buy tickets to the event which this year is also the 150th Anniversary celebration.

The society was established by an enactment of the New Zealand Institute Act on 10 October 1867.

Over the years since then the society has grown and evolved to be New Zealand’s national academy for research and scholarship, charged with exploring, discovering and sharing knowledge for the benefit of us all.

In this 150th year of the society, the annual Research Honours awards ceremony is being held on the exact date of this anniversary.



Tue 10 October 2017

6:00 PM – 10:30 pm


ANZ Viaduct Events Centre

161 Halsey Street,

Viaduct Harbour