Govt announces R&D student grants to grow NZ’s future innovators

Nearly 300 future innovators will get the opportunity to work in some of New Zealand’s top commercial R&D facilities, thanks to new grants announced by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce.

$3.5 million worth of R&D Student Grants have been allocated to successful R&D active businesses enabling them to employ students with science, technology, engineering, design, or marketing degrees.

Demand for both the postgraduate and undergraduate internships was high, with interest in the 2013 grants exceeding available places, Joyce said.

In total, 220 undergraduate and 71 postgraduate internships have been made available.

“The high level of interest shows the great appetite among New Zealand companies to work with our future innovators, who not only get to gain and develop technical skills in a commercial R&D environment but also greatly benefit the businesses they work for,” Mr Joyce says.

“High calibre proposals were submitted by some of our most innovative high tech companies as well as a great number of ambitious new start-ups who recognise the value of innovation and the need to provide career development opportunities for our future innovators.”

Some of the funded projects include:

* Developing educational and 3D games and e-learning platforms.

* Improving road surfaces through the application of novel materials.

* Developing a pest control toolkit and applying biodegradable plastics to advanced trapping systems.

* Market-driven product development for the health sector.

“These R&D Student Grants will enable a wide range of innovative businesses to hire talented students. This is a win-win result for the students’ career development and the acceleration of the business’ R&D projects,” Mr Joyce says.

Based on an annual salary of $60,000, the postgraduate R&D Student grants provide companies with 50 per cent of annual salary costs up to $30,000 (plus GST) to cover the salary of the postgraduate for the first six months.

The undergraduate R&D Student Grants provide companies with funding of $16 per hour for up to 400 hours of work for a maximum of $6,400 (excluding GST).

Details of the businesses approved for funding under the 2013 R&D Student Grants scheme can be found here.

The successful companies will advertise the internships, administered by Callaghan Innovation, on the NZUniCareerHub, and by the University of Waikato through the Cooperative Education Unit.

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