Applications are now closed for R&D Experience Grants in 2023, and will re-open in August 2024.
New Zealand’s eager, hardworking students are hungry for knowledge and experience. Not just from their lecturers and teachers, but eager to learn from the scientists, engineers and practitioners - just like you - who are innovating out there in the real world.
The R&D Experience Grant was created to fund innovative businesses to employ tertiary-level students (NZQA levels 6-10) as full-time interns over their summer break, and help prepare them for their own innovative careers.
You’ll embed one or more students into the teams within your business that are undertaking research and development. You’ll give them real-world R&D experience, demonstrating how science, technology, engineering and design works inside a business and plays a key part in creating appealing products and services.
In return you’ll get access to inquisitive minds and fresh thinking that will help you overcome research challenges and accelerate the development of your products or services.
The aim is to create a new generation of Kiwi innovators, dreaming big and having a positive impact on Aotearoa New Zealand. Who knows, you might inspire the next Sir Paul Callaghan. And you might learn a thing or two as well.
By the numbers
Benefits to your business
Share knowledge and develop the innovators of tomorrow.
Inquisitive student minds, helping you think outside of the box.
Get a helping hand to progress your research and development projects.
Grant payment equivalent to the Living Wage for the internship period.
Is this right for me?
To apply for the grant, your business should be able to offer an R&D position which provides the student with worthwhile experience and plays a positive part in their professional development. You must:
- Have an active R&D programme within your business i.e. R&D budget and technical R&D staff.
- Meet financial due diligence requirements.
- Employ the student on the payroll (you must provide payslips at claiming (note: public and statutory holidays are supported within the funding).
- Pay the student a minimum of $26.00 per hour.
Your organisation must be an eligible business entity:
- Incorporated in New Zealand and Registered under the Companies Act.
- Registered under the Limited Partnerships Act.
- A Māori incorporation or trust established under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act, a trust set up to manage assets as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, a Māori statutory body, or a business controlled by one or more of these entities.
There are limits in place as to how many students businesses can apply for. Businesses can apply for a maximum of 10 R&D Experience Grant students, as long as the student/R&D personnel ratio is met for all active student grants (Fellowship Grant, Career Grant or Experience Grant).
Organisations wishing to take on a student intern funded by the grant must ensure that their candidate is:
- Studying, or has recently completed, an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or qualification at NZQA level 6-10. If the study has been completed, the closing date of their final semester should be less than 12 months ago.
- Studying, or has studied, science, technology, engineering, design or business at a New Zealand tertiary education institute.
- Legally permitted to work in New Zealand.
- Has not been previously employed at the business in either a full-time or part-time permanent position (temporary short-term employment is permitted).
- Has not undertaken more than two R&D Experience Grant internships with the same business.
For 2023 - 2024: Eligible businesses will receive funding of $10,400 (plus GST) for 400 hours of full-time work upon proof of payment to the student. Public holidays and statutory holidays are included within this funding. Under the grant scheme, participating students will receive a minimum of $26.00 per hour.
Businesses can apply for an R&D Experience Grant prior to identifying a suitable student.
Applications for R&D Experience Grants are currently closed. They will reopen ahead of the Summer break.
If you wish to discuss the grant ahead of then, please contact our Customer Service Team.
Businesses applying for the R&D Experience Grant are also responsible for recruiting eligible students. We’d actively encourage you to advertise the summer internship roles in the usual places you’d promote vacancies, such as your website and social media, as well as on the likes of Seek and Trade Me.
If you’re seeking a student from a certain course, with a specific type of knowledge, you may wish to approach the specific departments at universities and institutions directly.
There are a number of other sites and job boards dedicated to university talent and internships. You can find them on the R&D Experience Grant Resource Hub.
Callaghan's R&D Experience scheme is really great. Callaghan funded internships have become an integral part of MEA's recruitment and training programme. The scheme enables us to give students/new-grads an opportunity to work on real world R&D projects in a commercial setting. Students/new grads are also provided with the opportunity to continue to learn."
Cetogenix is thankful for the opportunity to add resource to our team at this early stage of our start up phase. Ciara brought an extra set of hands to establish a fermentation laboratory from scratch, which included procurement, documentation and asset recording, and also performed a range of technical support duties."
I am a strong proponent for the R&D Experience student grant. We genuinely would not have been able to hire these students if not for the grant, and I'm confident that the internship programme was hugely impactful on them and their future career. Our interns now have strong industry connections, realistic working experience, and will be well equipped to enter the workforce at the completion of their studies. We are closely following at least one of the students and hope to make full-time offers to them at the completion of their tertiary studies."
Because this project was research-oriented, it was risky for us as a self-funded business to take on. Callaghan Innovation’s support to take on interns helped us de-risk the project, and meant we could work on something more innovative."
Callaghan Innovation has been a massive help to our business. By working with them, and AUT and Waikato universities, we’ve been able to find a lot of talent in the right areas to fuel our R&D pipeline."
Cetogenix is thankful for the opportunity to add resource to our team at this early stage of our start up phase. Ciara brought an extra set of hands to establish a fermentation laboratory from scratch, which included procurement, documentation and asset recording, and also performed a range of technical support duties. Ciara was involved in sets of activities and was assigned to different tasks."
Frequently asked questions
This means that the business must have:
- an in-house R&D programme
- a recent history of R&D activities over the preceding year and an R&D plan for the upcoming year; and
- a minimum of one R&D full time equivalent (FTE) employed by the business.
See our guide to describing your R&D.
Two current R&D Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff are required for each student and this 2:1 ratio applies regardless of the type of grant (Fellowship Grant, Career Grant or Experience Grant). The exception is when the business has only one R&D FTE - in this case one student can be applied for.
If a business only qualifies for one student at a time due to having 1 R&D staff member, and the current grant is nearing completion, a business may apply for another student grant (Career or R&D Experience) provided the end date of the existing grant is no later than 2 months from the date of the new application. E.g. Fellowship grant will complete on 30 June, business may apply for another student grant no earlier than 1 May for a 1 July start date in order to maintain the 2:1 RDT FTE to student ratio.
Depending on the size and capability of its R&D team, a business may receive multiple Student Experience Grants at one time.
A business can apply for up to ten Experience Grant students each year if the ratio of two R&D FTEs for each student is met. The exception is when the business has only one R&D FTE - in this case one student can be applied for.
Meet our experts
I work as the General Manager of Funding Engagement at Callaghan Innovation where we guide and support innovators through the funding process for their breakthrough ideas. My journey here has been dynamic, shaped by experiences ranging from wholesale financial markets to global consumer research organisations.Read more
My work managing the Funding & Contract Management team involves setting the terms of Callaghan Innovation’s R&D grants relationship with R&D businesses. Over twenty five years in the finance industry sees me well suited to the role of managing our grants portfolio.Read more
I'm a Funding Engagement Specialist working with customers seeking financial support for their business. At heart, I am an unapologetic science geek, driven by a profound passion for supporting innovators.Read more
My work as a Funding Engagement Specialist at Callaghan Innovation is supported by my background as a Chartered Accountant and MBA and experience from both the private and public sectors. My primary work focus is guiding our customers through writing cohesive grant applications.Read more
I'm one of the Funding Engagement Specialists interfacing between Callaghan Innovation and our customers. My core skills lie in system thinking, process design, and facilitation. These enable me to engage effectively with our stakeholders and navigate the complex project challenges that arise.Read more
I am a Funding Engagement Specialist at Callaghan Innovation helping align customers with the best funding for their situation and needs. Through my expertise in networking and connecting like-minded individuals, I excel in guiding collaborations which develop and communicate simple actionable solutions from complex situations.Read more
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Ready to transform your business?
Start your application today!
If you’re new to R&D Experience Grants, please contact our Customer Support team.
If you’ve applied in the past, or have previously received other funding from Callaghan Innovation, you can start your application on our online Grants Portal.