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Still time to secure valuable student R&D talent

open this image in new window: Student Grants Roadshow

This article was published on 29 August 2019

Callaghan Innovation says innovative businesses have access to a wealth of technical and fresh-thinking talent thanks to Government-funded student internships.

Applications are closing soon for Callaghan Innovation’s R&D Experience Grants, which fund 10-week internships with undergraduate or postgraduate students in science, engineering, technology, business and design.

More than 280 Kiwi companies had R&D Experience Grants approved last year, for over 660 students to boost capability and capacity in their research and development teams. Applications have been open since May, and are tracking well ahead of last year’s numbers, but there are still more businesses that could benefit.

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. Callaghan Innovation’s CFO, Matt Kenny, says companies looking for a dose of fresh thinking and technical skills have much more to gain.

“Many of these students are developing skills that are highly sought after across a number of industries. We’ve got students working on robotics, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), software development and pharmaceuticals,” says Mr Kenny.

“For start-ups especially, this can be a highly valuable resource, supporting anything from technical product work through to competitive market scans. For larger companies it might provide the confidence to finally kick off a long-awaited backburner project or get their data ready for machine learning and AI.”

Last year the majority of R&D Experience Grant student placements were in Auckland (282 students), followed by Canterbury (136), Wellington (66) and Waikato (58).

“We would love to see more applications from the regions and see these grants boosting the R&D capacity of businesses in these areas,” Mr Kenny adds.

“We are seeing larger companies integrate it with their recruitment projects - especially since there are skill shortages in these areas. All the good students are generally snapped up after graduation and this is a great way to get on the front foot and find a great fit.”

Both students or recent graduates are considered for the placements, and eligible companies must have an active R&D programme (an R&D budget and R&D staff). Applications are now open until 06 September at 12pm, visit Callaghan Innovation’s website for more information.