Student Grants

R&D Experience Grants

open this image in new window: R&D Experience Grants

R&D Experience Grants help businesses turbocharge their R&D projects with fresh talent, and give students real-world industry experience.

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Funding has now been allocated and Experience Grants are closed for this year.

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

Through R&D Experience Grants, Callaghan Innovation funds tertiary-level students with relevant skills into a real-world research and development (R&D) working environment.

Acting as full-time interns over the summer break, the students help businesses to accelerate their R&D projects, and gain invaluable commercial experience. 

R&D Experience Grants are one of our most successful and popular initiatives. However,  there is a limit on the total amount of funding available for these grants, and we encourage you to apply early to avoid missing out on funding.

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Who are R&D Experience Grants for?

R&D Experience Grants are designed for businesses looking to build on their R&D initiatives, and for tertiary students or recent graduates in science, technology, engineering, design or business looking to apply their degree to relevant technical R&D work.

Specific eligibility criteria is as follows

For businesses

To apply for an R&D Experience Grant, your business 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.

To qualify, your business must also:

  • 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 $23.65 per hour.

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): 

PDF icon Read more in our Experience Grants - Number of Grants per Business Guide.

For students

To be eligible for an R&D Experience Grant internship, students must:

  • Be studying, or have recently completed, an undergraduate or postgraduate degree or qualification at NZQA level 7-10. If the study has been completed, the closing date of your final semester should be less than 12 months ago.
  • Be studying science, technology, engineering, design or business at a New Zealand tertiary education institute.
  • Be legally permitted to work in New Zealand.
  • Not have been previously employed at the business in either a full-time or part-time permanent position (temporary short-term employment is permitted).
  • Not have undertaken more than two R&D Experience Grant internships with the same business.

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

For businesses

Businesses can apply for an R&D Experience Grant prior to identifying a suitable student.

Eligible businesses will receive funding of $9,460 (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 $23.65 per hour. 

How can you find a student?

Businesses that have been approved for an R&D Experience Grant will need to recruit eligible students. These organisations below can assist businesses that have been approved for an R&D Experience Grant to recruit the right student for their R&D project with finding the right student for your R&D project:  

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How can you apply?

For businesses

If you’re new to Callaghan Innovation, contact our Customer Support team here, so we can help you with 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

Students can apply directly to businesses when they see them advertising their internships, and may find them advertised through:

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Find out more

Answers to frequently asked questions about Experience Grants can be found at Student Grant FAQs. Please also see the R&D Experience Grant guides below.

For more information, please contact our

Customer Support team

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R&D Experience Grant guides

PDF icon Experience Grant - Number of Student Grants per Business

PDF icon Experience Grant – Student Eligibility Requirements Guidelines

PDF icon Experience Grant - Post Approval Checklist

PDF icon Experience Grant - Information for Students

PDF icon Experience Grant - Funding Agreement Example

File Experience Grant - Application Template

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R&D Experience Grants in action 

Customer stories

Ahead of the herd

Agritech innovator Halter develops ‘smart collars’ for cows. Halter accessed the R&D Experience Grants as a way to grow the business’  hungry talent pipeline. Read more >

Health food


Helico is aiming to produce therapeutic compounds from plants and, ultimately, ‘edible medicine’, with insulin its first target. To help achieve this, the business has used Callaghan Innovation Student Grants. It found its two lead bioinformatics engineers via internships supported by R&D Experience Grants. Read more >

Better together

Helius Therapeutics - Lab

Helius Therapeutics was granted NZ’s first GMP licence to manufacture medicinal cannabis products. The business has accessed a range of Callaghan Innovation support on its innovation journey so far, including Fellowship Grants and R&D Experience Grants. Read more >

Learning journey


Orah has developed a platform that helps schools, students and their families track and monitor school life. The business has taken on five interns over the past three summers, with support from Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience Grants. Read more >

Rocket boosters

RocketSpark team

Cambridge-based Rocketspark makes software that allows non-technical people to create websites. Rocketspark boosted its R&D efforts through Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience Grants, taking on four Waikato University software engineering student interns. Read more >

Updated: 2 May 2023