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Students begin summer placements

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This article was published on 21 December 2022

1,200 students will take up placements across 560 businesses this summer as part of the 2022 R&D Experience Grants programme funded by Callaghan Innovation.

The programme supports the placement of tertiary-level students with relevant skills into real-world research and development (R&D) settings within New Zealand businesses, over the summer university break.

“This programme is an opportunity for the next generation to gain valuable commercial experience, while at the same time supporting innovative New Zealand businesses to accelerate their R&D projects,” says Callaghan Innovation Chief Executive Stefan Korn.

“While a number of Kiwis are taking a well-deserved summer break, these students will be hard at work on R&D projects, learning valuable skills to support their future studies, and at the same time providing valuable extra hands for a variety of Aotearoa’s tech startups.”

Students have been placed in a range of businesses across New Zealand, gaining valuable commercial work experience in R&D and supporting businesses to turbocharge their R&D projects with fresh talent, and new ideas over a 10-week period, by working full time in a paid internship over the student summer break.

Commenting on the experience of hosting five students, E-Waste cleantech company Mint Innovation’s Chief Scientific Officer Ollie Crush says:

“R&D is critical to keeping our business ahead of the game and we have big and ambitious goals to reduce global reliance on mining and smelting by providing a low-carbon solution to recycle precious metals back into the economy, but we can only achieve that by staying focused on our R&D. To have five additional hands working with us over the summer period will be a huge help, and at the same time we hope to offer an all-round look at life within a commercial business and offering a range of different career paths that could be taken in the future."

"We have been very impressed by the calibre of interns this programme has offered us in the past. So much so that we offered six of our previous summer interns permanent roles here at Mint, and they're still here to this day!”

Comvita, New Zealand's leading Mānuka Honey exporter, is hosting four tertiary students undertaking summer research projects. At the end of their placements, the students will summarise their findings and present them along with suggestions for future R&D to the wider Comvita team.


Comvita Chief Science Officer Dr Jackie Evans says:

"This is the fourth year we have hosted students funded by Callaghan Innovation. We are excited to welcome four new students into our business this summer. Scientific and clinical research is a key part of what makes Comvita special, and we value the opportunity to work with these students. Each will be looking at different consumer-focused research projects, which, when completed, will directly impact the future of our business. To support their learning, we have appointed mentors to help them learn from our world-class team while working in a purpose-driven business environment.”

EnviroStrat, an end-to-end natural resource sector advisor and impact investment project developer, will be taking on two interns over the 2022/23 Summer break. Chief Operating Officer Rob Smith says:

“We are really excited to be welcoming two students to our team over the summer.  Alongside the practicalities of having two additional colleagues working with us, student interns will bring new insights and perspectives into the business due to their fresh thinking and skills – it's the ability to combine youthful enthusiasm and intellect with practical business experience.”

The R&D Experience Grant is a New Zealand-wide programme for undergraduate and postgraduate students studying technology, science, engineering, or design at a New Zealand tertiary education institute, to gain commercial work experience in New Zealand R&D businesses by funding a 10- week full time internship (usually paid at the living wage) over the student summer break.

Find out more about the Grants on the Callaghan Innovation website

Notes to editors

Students and representatives from each of the organisations referenced above are available over the next few weeks to talk about their experiences on the summer programme.  



About Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. The organisation’s primary mandate is to activate innovation and accelerate commercialisation to help businesses grow faster for a better New Zealand.

The government agency partners with ambitious businesses of all sizes, delivering a range of innovation and research and development (R&D) services to suit each stage of their growth. Callaghan Innovation’s team empowers innovators by connecting people, opportunities and networks, and providing tailored technical solutions, skills and capability development programmes, and grants co-funding.

Callaghan Innovation also enhances the operation of New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem, working closely with MBIE, NZTE, NZGCP, Crown Research Institutes, and other organisations that help increase business investment in R&D and innovation. The agency operates from four urban offices and a regional partner network in a further 12 locations across Aotearoa. 

Gracefield Innovation Quarter is home to more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists, researchers and technicians, along with a suite of tenant businesses. The site features state-of-the-art specialist workshops, pilot plants, labs and equipment, and world-class measurement facilities.

For more information visit