Honorary Appointment Policy and Procedures


All staff members of the University and honorary appointees


The relationship of honorary academic staff members to the University and the procedures for appointing them


1. Honorary appointments are usually for a period of up to five years and appointees may be reappointed as appropriate.

Honorary academic appointments

2. An honorary academic appointment can be made in a situation where a person:

  • has academic qualifications and relevant experience to the level the person is being appointed
  • can make a significant contribution to the University’s academic activities
  • is not a staff member
  • has a national and international standing outside the University in their area of expertise


Honorary academic appointments

3. Appointees will be given titles that are appropriate in terms of academic rank of the appointee relative to those of academic staff who are employed by the University (i.e. honorary lecturer, senior lecturer, associate professor, professor).

4. For honorary appointments, other than professor, the academic head/ manager will recommend and the dean/director will approve the appointment.

5. For honorary appointments at the grade of professor, the academic head will provide information to the dean for approval by the Provost.

6. All such appointments require a Curriculum Vitae and a recommendation from the dean which includes the following:

  • reason for appointment
  • length of appointment
  • academic credentials (brief outline)
  • expected contribution to the department
  • previous association with or contribution to the university
  • identification of resource implications (e.g. computer, space, research support)

7. The offer of an honorary appointment must be entered into the HR system and approved through the system. An offer will then be generated for the individual.

8. It is recommended that all honorary appointees have an academic sponsor.

9. It is recommended that the academic sponsor is:

  • involved in the same field of research
  • or a senior academic

10. Honorary appointees are not remunerated, other than reimbursement of expenses.

11. If a person is to receive a payment they must enter into an agreement to either:

  • become a staff member
  • sign on a Fixed Term Agreement
  • sign a Contract for Service
  • sign on a Casual Agreement

whichever is the most suitable to the case.

Procedures with respect to honorary academics and research project roles

1. An honorary staff member may be nominated as a PI on a grant application. However, the grant application must allow for salary costs. If the grant is successful, the honorary staff member must be appointed as an employee. This can be a fixed-term fractional appointment, consistent with the scope of the grant.

  • The length of the fixed-term contract must be at least as long as the term of the grant.
  • The fraction should reflect the expected time commitment and must be equal to or greater than 0.05FTE (2 hours per week)

Note that an appointment above 0.2FTE and for at least one year is PBRF eligible

2. Staff who leave the University when a PI on an active grant may become an associate or co-PI until the end of the grant. A University of Auckland staff member must take on the lead PI role and responsibilities.

3. If retired staff receive new grants, they must be reappointed to the University on a fixed-term appointment equal to or greater than 0.05FTE for the term of the grant. There will be no crediting of previous service to these appointments.

Ethics applications

4. Honorary staff may not be the PI on an Ethics application in which the University is the host institution.

  • For funded projects, where the PI on the awarded proposal is an honorary academic, the ethics application should be submitted AFTER the grant is confirmed and AFTER the honorary academic has been appointed into a staff role
  • For unfunded projects, a University staff member must act as the PI on the ethics application.

Expectation of honorary academics

Honorary academics who are guest teachers must understand the curriculum and what they are expected to teach.

5. Honorary academics who are contributors to research projects must understand the University’s research policies and requirements.

6. Honorary academics are expected to use the University as an author address in publications.

7. Honorary academics who are supervising research students or University-initiated work-based-learning assignments must understand the University’s supervisory policies and requirements and/or work-based-learning requirements as set out in the relevant WBL agreement.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head covers heads of departments, schools and other teaching and research units at Level 3 in the University Organisation Structure.

Academic sponsor is a nominated staff member assigned to honorary appointees for the term of the appointment. This person is able to act as a mentor and/or manage the relationship with the honorary appointee.

Honorary appointee is person with whom the University has a non-employee relationship in the sense that there are no contractual obligations and no remuneration attached to the appointment.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part time basis (for the purposes of this policy casual staff are not included in this definition).

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.  

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Director, HR and Pro VC Education
Content manager:
  Pro VC Education
Approved by: 
Date approved:
14 April 2021
Review date:
14 April 2026