News and events

Hundreds of NZ companies eligible for R&D boost with funded internships

open this image in new window: RandD Experience Grants

This article was published on 9 May 2019

Companies looking for a dose of fresh thinking and new skills are encouraged to apply for fully-funded R&D internships for students or recent graduates in science, engineering, technology, business and design.

Callaghan Innovation today announced it is accepting applications for the R&D Experience Grants, which fund 10-week internships with undergraduate or postgraduate students.

“With these R&D Experience Grants, companies have the opportunity to boost their research and development capacity and gain access to fresh talent and ideas,” says Erica Lloyd, General Manager of Market and Sectors at Callaghan Innovation. 

“Investing in R&D is a critical catalyst for growth and innovation, and these internships are a practical way to initiate or advance research projects that can translate to real gains in the future.”

In the 2018/2019 round, funding was awarded for more than 600 student internships around the country. 

Website-building company Rocketspark secured R&D Experience Grants last year and director Grant Johnson says the student internships were incredibly valuable.

“It was a really beneficial process and we’re excited by the outcome of what they’ve produced.”  

Two of the students who took up internships with Rocketspark were studying software engineering.

“They were smart students and in their ten weeks with us they created a prototype of a tool that will help small business owners with their search engine optimisation. There’s still a way to go to get it into a commercial project, but the Experience Grant was a really valuable kick-start to a project with high potential and provided the impetus to do some challenging research.” 

Following the internship one of the students has joined Rocketspark’s development team, working one day a week while he completes his studies.

For students the R&D Experience Grants provide an opportunity to gain valuable work experience and the chance to apply their training and study to practical projects.

Johnson says the feedback from their student interns was that the project helped to identify the areas of R&D they enjoyed and focused them on their studies and likely career choices.

Travel software company Serko has also secured multiple R&D Experience Grants and Martin Cronje, Head of Engineering, says the student internships have brought smart, enthusiastic people and fresh thinking into the company’s R&D activity.

“We are bringing some of these interns on full-time because of their eagerness and the fresh perspective they offer.”

Feedback from Serko’s student interns was that they gained hands-on practical experience, an opportunity to better understand the industry and their role in it, and a chance to work on real-world projects.

“We were well supported but we had lots of autonomy in how we approached the work. It was challenging, but it was an incredible opportunity to learn in a great environment.”

Agritech business Levno has also benefited from the R&D Experience Grants and owner Larry Ellison says they are a valuable way of “attracting highly talented young people”.

Applications for the Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience Grants are open until 31 August 2019. R&D Experience Grants fund a 10-week internship for undergraduate or postgraduate students, of $8,460 (excl. GST), over the student summer break.