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New Zealand funds R&D internships for businesses

Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand’s Innovation Agency, is accepting applications for the R&D Experience Grants, which fund 10-week internships with undergraduate or postgraduate students.

According to a recent report, companies that are looking for a dose of fresh thinking and new skills are encouraged to apply for fully-funded R&D internships for students or recent graduates in science, engineering, technology, business and design.

Benefits of the funded internships

With these R&D Experience Grants, companies have the opportunity to boost their research and development capacity and gain access to fresh talent and ideas.

Investing in research and development (R&D) is a critical catalyst for growth and innovation.

These internships are a practical way to initiate or advance research projects that can translate to real gains in the future.

In the 2018/2019 round, funding was awarded for more than 600 student internships around the country.

For students, the R&D Experience Grants provide an opportunity to gain valuable work experience and the chance to apply their training and study to practical projects.

R&D Experience Grants fund a 10-week internship for undergraduate or postgraduate students, of NZ$ 8,460, excluding GST, over the student summer break.

Applications for the Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience Grants are open until 31 August 2019.

Case studies

A website-building company that was able to secure R&D Experience Grants last year shared that student internships were incredibly valuable. It was a really beneficial process.

Two of the students who took up internships with them were studying software engineering.

They were smart students and in their ten weeks, they created a prototype of a tool that will help small business owners with their search engine optimisation.

There’s still a way to go to get it into a commercial project, but the Experience Grant was a really valuable kick-start to a project with high potential and provided the impetus to do some challenging research.

Following the internship one of the students has joined the company’s development team, working one day a week while he completes his studies.

Feedback from the student interns was that the project helped to identify the areas of R&D they enjoyed and focused them on their studies and likely career choices.

Meanwhile, a travel software company, which has also secured multiple R&D Experience Grants, shared that student internships have brought smart, enthusiastic people and fresh thinking into the company’s R&D activity.

They are bringing some of these interns on full-time because of their eagerness and the fresh perspective they offer.

Feedback from their student interns was that they gained hands-on practical experience, an opportunity to better understand the industry and their role in it, and a chance to work on real-world projects.

According to them, “We were well supported but we had lots of autonomy in how we approached the work. It was challenging, but it was an incredible opportunity to learn in a great environment.”

According to an agritech business, they benefited from the Grants because this was a valuable way of attracting highly talented young people.

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