Student Grants

Student Grant FAQs

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.

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:

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

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

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

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

How many Student Grants can I apply for?

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.
Experience Grant
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.

Career Grant
Businesses must meet the R&D FTE to student ratio above. 

PDF icon Check out our guide to the number of students permitted per business

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.

Career Grant
Some international students may be eligible for an R&D Career internship provided they received their Masters or PhD from a New Zealand university and they have a valid visa allowing them to work in New Zealand for the duration of the placement.
The business is responsible for ensuring that the graduate can legally work in New Zealand before they start work.


Can the student have worked in the business previously?

Experience Grant
A company may employ the same student twice under Experience Grant internships but not a third time.
Previous employment of the student in the business can only be temporary and short term. A student employed by a company on a permanent part-time basis is ineligible for an Experience Grant.

Career Grant
The student cannot have been previously employed at the business unless this was short-term employment (e.g. over the summer break).
If the student has worked in the business as a paid employee for more than three months prior to submission date, on either a full-time or part-time basis, they are ineligible.

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.

Does the student have to work full-time at the business?

Experience Grant students and Career Grant graduates must work full-time at the business for the duration of the placement. Students must work in the business, not in a university or at home, as the key to these grants is giving students exposure to a working R&D environment.
There is some flexibility here for digital businesses where core staff are generally working from home. Requests for a student to be working remotely are assessed on a case by case basis and the business will need to demonstrate how the student will receive adequate oversight, mentorship and exposure to a real-world R&D environment if not working on site.

Can an application be submitted with a start date in the future?

Experience Grant
The start date should not be after 1 December to allow sufficient time for the student to complete the 10 week internship before 31 March after allowing for a possible Christmas shutdown. There is flexibility here if the business can demonstrate the student will be able to complete the 10 week internship before 31 March. 
Example: Student and business agree a start date of 9 January as the student’s university schedule allows time for them to complete the 10 week internship prior to 31 March. 

Career Grant
A start date in the future is allowed where the student has yet to submit their thesis and submission is expected to occur within 2-3 months. 

However, our grant funding is awarded on an annual basis and where an application is submitted prior to 30 June in any given year, the start date can be no later than 30 June. 

What is the term of the Contract?

Experience Grant
Standard term of the contract is from the date of approval until 31 March.

Career Grant
Standard term of the contract is six months, however the actual documented term is eight months to reduce the need for contract extension requests (e.g. due to annual leave).
The start date of the grant cannot be backdated to a date that is prior to submission of the application. The start date will usually be the Monday of the week of application approval (unless a forward dated start date is requested and approved).
There is no obligation for the company to retain the student beyond the six month contract.

Contract amount

Experience Grant
For 2023/2024, the funding amount (excl GST) per student is $10,400 which is based on 40 hours per week for 10 weeks at $26.00 per hour. 
One claim is made at the end of the contract period.

Career Grant
Maximum amount of grant funding (excl GST) is $30,000 (Masters student) or $35,000 (PhD student) but may be a lower amount if the student graduate is being paid less than $60,000 pa (Masters student) or $70,000 pa (PhD student). 
Example: Salary is $50,000 pa so maximum funding available is $25,000 based on six months salary.
If the business chooses to pay the student a higher salary, they must still claim the funding over the six month term.

Example: Salary for Masters student is $120,000 pa and maximum funding available is $30,000. The amount of $30,000 will be paid over the six month term (i.e. the $30,000 cannot all be claimed within the first three months of the contract).
Proof of salary is required with the first claim.

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

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

Contact us through our Customer Support Page.


Uploading of documentation to online portal by customer

Our online portal is only compatible with MS Office and pdf formats. Any other documents need to be converted to either MS Office format or pdf prior to upload.

Submission of application in online portal

Applications need to be submitted in the portal by a “super user”. All other users are unable to view or use the “Submit” function.


There is no waitlist in place of student grants.

Grouping rule

There is no rule that prevents several businesses within a group from applying for a Career Grant or an Experience Grant.


Callaghan Innovation has a robust set of policies and procedures on confidentiality and privacy to protect information provided by grant applicants from being shared with unauthorised third parties. We are a New Zealand Government agency and the guidelines published in Maintaining confidentiality of government information on the Public Service Commission website also apply.

What reporting is required about the grant?

For all student grants, the business must provide progress reports to Callaghan Innovation and a final report about the student’s involvement in the project. These reports are short and in the form of survey questions.
From time to time, we may require the business and student to complete a survey after the completion of the grant. This survey helps to inform the design of future R&D grants.

Updated: 8 August 2023