Student Grants

R&D Career Grants

open this image in new window: RandD Careers Grants

Harness the knowledge and skills of a PhD or masters graduate to solve a R&D problem in your business.

What are R&D Career Grants and what are the benefits?

R&D Career Grants enable businesses to tap into the knowledge and expertise of PhD or masters graduate students to help accelerate R&D and innovation programmes. 

Designed to bridge the first six months of full-time employment, R&D Career Grants enable students to to turn their academic skills into a real-world tangible employment opportunity, and to gain invaluable work experience in a commercial environment.

Back to top

Who are R&D Career Grants for?

R&D Career Grants are designed for businesses looking for fresh expertise to help solve a specific R&D problem they’ve faced when developing a new product, process or service. 

These grants also support recent masters and PhD graduates in science, technology, engineering, design or business into employment, and to apply their qualification to a relevant R&D role.

Specific eligibility criteria is as follows:

For businesses

To apply for an R&D Career Grant, your business must be one of the following:

  • A company incorporated in New Zealand and registered under the Companies Act 1993.
  • A New Zealand registered Limited Partnership.
  • 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.

To qualify, your business must also:

  • Have an active R&D programme i.e. a R&D budget and R&D staff.
  • Meet financial due diligence requirements
  • Employ the student in a full time position. (the student cannot be on contract – they must be on the payroll).

There are limits in place as to how many total students a business can apply for across all their active student grants (Fellowship Grant, Career Grant or Experience Grant). 

PDF icon Read more in our Career Grant - Number of Students per Business Guide.

For students

To be eligible for an R&D Career Grant placement, students must:

  • Be about to complete, or have recently completed, a masters or PhD degree in science, technology, engineering, design or business ie have submitted a thesis for marking (or completed course requirement for taught masters) less than 12 months ago
  • Have undertaken the study at a New Zealand tertiary institution if you are not a New Zealand citizen 
  • Be legally permitted to work in New Zealand
  • Not have been employed in the industry under a professional arrangement related to your area of study except temporary, part-time or at a tertiary organisation
  • Not have been previously employed at the business unless this was short-term employment (eg over the summer break).

Back to top

How do R&D Career Grants work and how much can you get?

For business

Businesses can apply for an R&D Career Grant as soon as they identify a suitable student. 

Eligible businesses will receive the first six months of the student’s annual salary costs for a full time position up to:

  • $30,000 (plus GST) for a masters graduate (based on annual salary of $60,000)
  • $35,000 (plus GST) for a PhD graduate (based on an annual salary of $70,000)

Back to top

How do I find a student?

Businesses must recruit a student before applying for an R&D Career Grant. The organisations below can help you find the right student for your R&D project. Contact the head of the graduate school or the university department that best fits your R&D activity. 

Alternatively, you can advertise directly through:

Back to top

How can you apply?

For businesses

If you’re new to Callaghan Innovation, please refer to our Customer Support page so that we can help you to get started on your application. Existing customers who have previously had grant funding from Callaghan Innovation can go directly to the online portal and start their application. All customers will receive support from the Funding Engagement Team during the application process. 

For students

Businesses will be looking for students all year round. Students can find interested businesses through:

Back to top

Find out more

Please also see the R&D Career Grant guides below.

Answers to frequently asked questions about R&D Career Grants can be found at Student Grant FAQs.

For more information, please contact our

Customer Support team

Back to top

Career Grant guides

File Career Grant - Application Guidelines and Template

PDF icon Career Grant - Funding Agreement

PDF icon Career Grant - Information for Students

PDF icon Career Grant - Number of Students per Business Guide

Ministerial Direction for Student Grants

Back to top

R&D Career Grants in action 

Customer stories

Driving change

Christchurch-based tech startup Partly is bringing digital disruption to the world’s $1.9 trillion automotive parts market. They accessed both an R&D Experience Grant and an R&D Career Grant to take on students. Read more >

DNA detectives

The Wilderlab team

Wellington-based Wilderlab is NZ’s only exclusive eDNA testing lab. An R&D Career Grant more recently supported a Master’s student to work in the business, whose role has included legwork ground truthing assumptions being made by their data tool to ensure its accuracy. Read more >

Art and science

Wine bottles

Dunedin-based Winely produces technology for real-time fermentation analysis for use in the wine industry. Winely has developed a process to train its own talent, particularly students supported by Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience and Career Grants. Read more >


Updated: 27 June 2023