News and events

COVID-19 recovery and support

open this image in new window: COVID-19 Callaghan Innovation

This article was published on 22 September 2020

Through COVID-19 impacts this is our central reference point for new and ongoing support measures that may be of help to your business

Current COVID-19 Alert Level status

All of New Zealand, except for Auckland is now at Alert Level 1.

Auckland is now at Alert Level 2.

In keeping with government guidelines, staff at our sites in Christchurch and Wellington have returned to site. If you are visiting one of these sites you are encouraged to contact trace using the QR codes provided.

In Auckland, while some visitors are allowed on site, this is only under certain conditions. All visitors must give 24 hours’ notice of a site visit and be approved before visiting. Contact tracing processes are in place. Please talk to your relationship manager first if you need to arrange a visit. 

Alert Level 2 may also impact some of our events in Auckland. Please check the COVID-19 events page for details.

For ongoing service status updates please check this page regularly.

You can also contact us on 0800 422 552 or


R&D support

R&D Loan Scheme

Through Callaghan Innovation's R&D Loan Scheme, businesses with R&D funding impacted by the economic effects of COVID-19 are able to apply for an R&D loan of up to $400,000. The idea is to help R&D-performing businesses continue their high-value R&D activities through COVID-19 impacts. Due to high demand for the limited scheme, a waitlist is now in place to ensure a fair and efficient process. Information is available via Callaghan Innovation’s R&D Loan webpage.

Updated R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) support

New RDTI refundability changes have been introduced to provide extra cashflow support to R&D-performing businesses. More loss-making businesses now qualify to have their 15% R&D tax credit refunded in cash. For further information, contact your Callaghan Innovation relationship manager or visit the RDTI Hub website.

R&D grants - new relief measures

We’ve introduced a number of relief options for customers with Callaghan Innovation R&D grants and repayable loans, including flexibility with contract terms, R&D staff and claiming. If you have any concerns about your R&D grant or Tech Incubator Startup Repayable Loan, please contact your Callaghan Innovation relationship manager, who can run through your options. We will continue to prioritise keeping R&D grants payments on schedule.

Cash flow support

Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employers, including sole traders, to pay employees who must self-isolate as a result of COVID-19, but are unable to work from home.

Visit Work and Income NZ for details and to apply.

Other cashflow support
Regional Business Partner Network support 

The Government recently announced a $10m Tourism Transitions Fund for the RBP network to support 3,000 small to medium tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

The Fund is to provide tourism businesses with advice and support such as HR, health and wellbeing, business continuity and hibernation, cashflow and finance management, strategy and digital capability. Find out more.

Previously  the Government announced an additional $40 million for Callaghan Innovation and NZTE’s Regional Business Partner Network (RBP). RBP Growth Advisors can discuss the needs of your small to medium-sized business, including helping you access funded support for: management capability development, R&D projects, business mentoring services, making connections, and local and Government business services. 

RBPs also offer a series of webinars on topics including: retention and redeployment, pivoting your business, building stronger leadership and teams, business continuity and growth, and wellbeing and mental health. Find out more on’s Kiwi Business Boost platform. The RBP COVID-19 page has information on eligibility criteria and how to access its services.

Find out more

There are a number of government websites that have useful information about economic recovery activity and how to access it.

  • For updates on COVID-19 support information visit the Government’s Unite against COVID-19 website.

  • also provides information on COVID-19 support specific for NZ, and The Kiwi Business Boost helps with business information and support, including COVID-19 guidance, tailored to your business needs.

  • ATEED’s Digital Assessment Tool will help you identify your website, marketing and people & digital needs, and understand the path to digital success.

  •, Chambers of Commerce, RBPs and other local support agencies are running a series of webinars for businesses. 


Other Callaghan Innovation support & initiatives

R&D Student Experience Grants

R&D student experience grants are now open to help businesses continue their R&D activities with extra resources, and provide students with valuable work experience. The Experience Grant is a paid 10-week internship of $8,460 (excl. GST) over the student summer break. Businesses can apply for up to 10 undergraduate or postgraduate students, with applications closing on 30 September. Find out more about the criteria for businesses and students on our R&D Experience Grants webpage.

Capital Education workshops & resources

Businesses considering a capital raise in the current environment may find our free Capital Education resources helpful. This series of videos, backed up with online workshops, are designed to  help businesses understand the equity capital raising process in NZ. No matter what age or stage your company or innovation is at, these resources offer expert advice on how to raise the capital needed to build a thriving business - even in a post-COVID-19 environment.

Innovation Skills programmes

To help businesses come out of this crisis stronger, in addition to our current Innovation Skills programmes, we are looking at scoping, developing and/or piloting new programmes to address capability gaps in product development and product-market fit. Updates on upcoming programmes and workshops will be available on the News and Events page.

Our current Innovation Skills programmes that can help businesses accelerate or pivot are:

Connect to the COVID-19 response

Almost 200 businesses on our networking platform, Scale-Up NZ, now feature a “coronavirus” tag, identifying them as having COVID-19 response capability. Businesses can also connect with potential investors and organisations that provide innovation skills training, to help with changing business models.

COVID-19 customer impact survey insights

In mid-May, as New Zealand entered Alert Level 2, Callaghan Innovation undertook a second customer impact survey to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

This survey followed an initial survey of customers completed in early April when the country was in Alert Level 4. The second survey showed increased optimism due to an ease in lockdown restrictions and additional financial support, such as the wage subsidy. But also underlined a need for ongoing support, particularly among smaller, low and pre-revenue businesses. 

These surveys help Callaghan Innovation assess the needs of businesses in different stages of COVID-19 recovery, to help us advocate on behalf of business and ensure support initiatives are meeting the current needs.

Events update

Some of our events have been moved online as part of the response to COVID-19. For all Callaghan Innovation and industry events updates please visit the COVID-19 events updates page.