Student Grants

Student Grant FAQs

Back to top

How do I find a student or graduate to work in my business?

Experience Grant

The organisations below can assist you with finding the right student for your R&D project.

For more detail about these organisations, see our guide on PDF icon Where to Find A Student (PDF).

Fellowship Grant

Your best option is to identify a university academic and they will find the student for you. The university academic will supervise the student’s degree and agree the research project with you and the student.

You can find an academic supervisor through the department which at best fits your R&D activity. The person heading graduate research is often a good starting point.  Other options are the head of department and the research office.

Career Grant

Contact the university department that best fits your R&D activity. The head of the graduate school is often a good starting point. Alternatively, you can advertise directly through:

For more information, talk to your Callaghan Innovation account manager or your local Regional Business Partner or phone Callaghan Innovation on 0800 4 CALLAGHAN (0800 422 552).

Back to top

Can I apply for the grant first then look for a suitable student?

Only for R&D Experience Grants. For Career and Fellowship Grants, you must have identified a suitable student before applying for the grant.

Back to top

To be eligible a business must have an ‘active R&D programme’. What does this mean?

This means that the business has:

  • 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).

Back to top

How many Student Grants can I apply for?

Depending on the size and capability of its R&D team, a business may receive multiple student grants at any one time. We have a guide for the maximum number of grants per business: PDF icon Grants per business guide however the key consideration for us, when determining the number of grants a business can receive, is whether the business will be able to support all the students adequately.


Back to top

Are international students eligible for R&D Student Grants?

Experience Grant

International students studying in New Zealand may be eligible provided they have a valid visa allowing the student to work in New Zealand for the duration of the internship.

The business is responsible for ensuring that the student can legally work in New Zealand before they start work.

Fellowship Grant

Some international students may be eligible for the Fellowship Grant provided they have a valid visa allowing the student to study while studying in New Zealand for the duration of the grant. Please see Immigration NZ website about working on a student visa.

The grant contract will be conditional on, and will not commence until, proof of the student’s enrolment from the university has been provided to Callaghan Innovation.

If the student requires a visa to study in New Zealand, the funding may be conditionally offered by Callaghan Innovation to support the visa application process, should the grant application be successful. Funding will be confirmed once evidence of enrolment is provided to Callaghan Innovation.

Career Grant

Some international students may be eligible for an R&D Career internship provided they received their masters or PhD from a NZ university and they have a valid visa allowing them to work in New Zealand for the duration of the internship.

The business is responsible for ensuring that the graduate can legally work in New Zealand before they start work.

Back to top

What happens if the student withdraws from the work?

If circumstances change it is very important that you advise us. We’ll consider the impact of the changes on the grant criteria and discuss these with you.

Back to top

Are Fellowship stipends taxable?

Inland Revenue has provided an indicative view* that the Fellowship Grant stipend is exempt income of the recipient student under s CW 36 of the Income Tax Act 2007. The view indicates it is unlikely that a student would have to pay income tax on the stipend.

Please note that Callaghan Innovation is unable to provide tax advice; students are encouraged to discuss their circumstances directly with Inland Revenue should they have any questions.

*An indicative view is not binding on Inland Revenue.

Back to top

What expenses are covered by the Fellowship stipend?

The stipend is a non-discretionary payment made to the student to cover living costs, travel and accommodation costs (when they are required to travel between the university and the business) while undertaking the project with the business.

The Fellowship Grant is not a scholarship and does not pay for or subsidise tuition fees.

Back to top

Can the business top up the student’s funding?

Yes. The business can top up the student’s wage or salary and may wish to do this to attract quality students/graduates.

As university tuition fees are not covered by the Fellowship funding, the business can help the student pay for their tuition fees. This may affect the income tax status of the stipend.

Any top up funding is paid directly by the business to the student or through the university.  

Back to top

Does the student have to work fulltime at the business?

Experience Grant students and Career Grant graduates should work full-time at the business for the duration of the internship.


The student has two objectives: performing R&D on a significant problem for the business and getting their masters/PhD qualification from the university. It follows then that the student should study at the business and at the university. The time spent at each location will vary depending on the requirements for the research project.

The student will need sufficient time to work within the business’s R&D team, at their university with their academic supervisor, and receive professional development/mentoring from the business.

Back to top

How should Intellectual Property be managed under the terms of a Fellowship Grant?

The management of Intellectual Property (IP) must be agreed between the university, business and student at the start of the project. The business should have unrestricted access to the IP resulting from the research. The university should be able to continue research in the field and to teach on the topic. The student should be able to publish the research in their thesis.

Back to top

Who is the primary contact for updates about the grant and the project?

The business is the primary contact, however, the university or the student may also contact us at any time to discuss issues related to the grant and/or the project.

Phone 0800 4 CALLAGHAN (0800 422 552) to talk to us.

Back to top

What reporting is required about the grant?

The business provides, to Callaghan Innovation, progress reports (Career & Fellowship only) and a final report about the student’s involvement in the project (all grants). These reports are short and in the form of survey questions.

Fellowship Grant reports may be supported with reports from the university and student.

We may require the business, university and student to complete a survey after the completion of the grant from time to time. The survey will help to inform the design of future R&D grants.

Back to top

Is there a limit to R&D Experience Grant funding?

There is a limit on the total amount of funding available for these grants and applications are now closed for 2021/22 R&D Experience Grants.

However we are still interested in hearing your feedback if you missed out on this round. Providing your feedback via the form below will assist our converasations about future suppor in this space. Please visit the R&D Experience Grant webpage for more inforamtion. 

Updated: 9 September 2021