News and events

Key information about COVID-19

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

This article was published on 19 May 2020

We are launching new support measures, and adapting existing services, as businesses move through COVID-19 alert levels.

R&D Loan Scheme

We’re pleased Government has committed $150m for an R&D Loan Scheme, complementing our current offerings. The option of these loans will help many businesses maintain their R&D and innovation programmes through, and out of the crisis. We are now working on the implementation plan for the scheme and you can check for updates and register your interest here.

Wage subsidy for pre-revenue businesses

Eligibility for the government wage subsidy scheme has been extended to include R&D intensive pre-revenue businesses known to Callaghan Innovation as at 17 March, 2020. 

Pre-revenue firms wanting to apply for the wage subsidy should do so before 9 June

Those firms will need to demonstrate a 30% projected loss of income from capital as a result of COVID-19 when they apply for the wage subsidy. 

From 10 June to 1 September, pre-revenue firms that need support may be able to apply for the Wage Subsidy Extension. Please note there is likely to be stricter eligibility criteria for the Wage Subsidy Extension at this time. We will update our COVID-19 information page when we have more details on changes to eligibility criteria. 

Callaghan Innovation can help you determine if you meet the criteria of being R&D intensive. To get started please complete this form and we will be in touch to help determine your eligibility.

Callaghan Innovation can’t determine your eligibility on the grounds of capital loss for you though. You will need to make your own determination on whether you believe you meet the criteria.

More information on calculating and evidencing revenue decline can be found on Work and Income’s website. Any questions on how to demonstrate a 30% drop in projected income from capital should be directed to Work and Income.



Alert Level 2 services and visits

Callaghan Innovation is operating under Alert Level 2 conditions at all of our sites as of Wednesday 20 May.

This means more of our staff will return to work at all of our sites in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. However, in keeping with the government guidelines, those who can work from home are still being encouraged to do so. 

Alert Level 2 also means our sites are open to visitors under certain conditions. However, the importance of each visit will be considered on a case by case basis. All visitors must give 24 hours’ notice of a site visit and be approved before visiting that site.

Customers with questions about Callaghan Innovation, Measurement Standards Laboratory, Glycosyn, or KiwiStar Optics projects, please contact your relationship manager. 

For ongoing service status updates please come back to check this page regularly.

You can also contact us on 0800 422 552 or  

New regional business support services available

The Government has allocated an extra $25 million for business support services across NZ. Among other things, this has enabled our Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network to launch a dedicated COVID-19 Business Helpline for specific advice and access to Government-funded business support: North Island 0800 500 362 and South Island 0800 505 096. Other services that the additional funding will support include HR, health and wellbeing, business continuity, cashflow and finance management, strategy and digital capability. Visit the RBP COVID-19 page for information on how to access these and other services. 

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.

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, please contact your Callaghan Innovation relationship manager or visit the RDTI Hub website.

$25m funding to fast track COVID-19 innovation

The Government has announced $25 million funding for the fast development of new products and services that could help to detect, diagnose, treat or prevent COVID-19. The COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund supports R&D, prototyping and pre-production activities. Callaghan Innovation is helping businesses in the application and initial triage process, but MBIE’s website is the first port of call for information about the application criteria, and for a list of funding awards so far.

Key findings from April COVID-19 customer survey

In early April we surveyed our customers to find out how the pandemic is affecting their businesses. Such surveys are crucial to ensuring our COVID-19 support options - current and in development - are effective amid a rapidly changing business environment. A summary of survey results and insights, including a new model of business need state groups, is available here. We will be doing regular follow-up surveys as a pulse check for business needs as COVID-19 impacts and opportunities develop.

Preparing businesses for recovery and growth by building capability

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 capital raising, product development and product-market fit. Updates on upcoming programmes and workshops will be available on our News and Events page.

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

Connecting with new partners and opportunities

Our networking platform, Scale-Up NZ, now has a coronavirus tag with more than 100 profiles tagged, to help businesses find organisations that have stated they can provide support, or have capability, specific to the COVID-19 crisis. Businesses can also connect with organisations that provide innovation skills training, to help with changing business models.

COVID-19 support for NZ export businesses

NZTE has useful tips and advice for exporters managing the impact of COVID-19. Tools include a COVID-19 Business Checklist, Cashflow Health check and Pandemic Business Continuity Plan template. Contact NZTE if you're experiencing export issues related to the virus.

COVID-19 resources and tools for all businesses

  • For general information and updates on the impact of COVID-19 visit the Government’s Unite against COVID-19 website. 
  • 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 support options related to cashflow:

Update on Callaghan Innovation and key industry events

Hack The Crisis was a big hit with more than 900 people engaging over one weekend in a national mission to create innovative solutions for life beyond COVID-19. Read more on this blog and watch this video about the winner, ‘Draw This!’. We’re proud to have supported this challenge alongside NZ’s startup community. 

Congratulations to all the NZ Hi-Tech Awards finalists! You can read our announcement wrap-up here. The Awards Gala dinner to announce the winners is postponed until August. We’ll update our News and Events page when a date is confirmed.

We are transferring a number of our events to digital formats. For example, we’re connecting digitally with our Callaghan Innovation C-Prize finalists as we head towards final judging and announcing a winner. 

Upcoming webinars from other organisations include series from BioTech NZ and Agritech NZ

We’ll continue providing updates on Callaghan Innovation and key industry events on our News and Events page.