Grants available to businesses through Callaghan Innovation

Wednesday 4th December 2013

Callaghan Innovation is a stand-alone Crown Entity which was established on 1 February 2013 with the policy objective of increasing New Zealand businesses’ investment in R&D to support long-term growth.

In addition to providing research and technical services, and connecting businesses to resources and support, Callaghan Innovation awards and administers various grants totalling some $141.5 million per year. These grants are designed to accelerate the commercialisation of innovation, with the three main categories of grant funding being:

  • Getting Started.  Funding is available to help businesses kick-start an R&D project with the objective being that further innovation (such as the completion of the R&D project or a product being taken to market) will result.  These grants are administered by Callaghan Innovation’s Regional Business Partners, and funding of 40% of the costs of one external expert is available, up to a maximum of $5,000.  Businesses typically use this funding for freedom to operate searches, IP strategy advice, legal advice, company formation and specific technical advice such as determining product specifications and user requirements.  However, the funding is not available for drafting or filing IP applications.  The administration of these grants is intended to be “light-touch” and apparently there is a simple application process which only takes a few days.
  • Project Grants.  These grants primarily target businesses that do not receive Growth Grants (see below). This category focuses on businesses with less established, smaller R&D programmes and businesses new to R&D, in order to encourage investment in R&D activities.  Funding is typically available for 30-50% of the costs of a single business-led R&D project.  A project grant aims to help a business carry out an R&D project “faster, bigger or better” and may include R&D carried out at a university or other research provider.  There is a full evaluation of the application so it is a relatively “heavy touch” process.
  • Growth Grants.  These grants are intended to increase R&D investment in businesses with a track record of R&D spending in New Zealand. A growth grant can be for up to 20% funding of the “eligible R&D costs” of an R&D programme (this being the expensed and not the capitalised R&D costs) and is typically used for increasing the budget for a portfolio of multiple innovation projects.  Certain activities such as the costs involved in protecting, licensing, selling, enforcing or defending intellectual property are not covered.

There are also Global Expert grants which are available for businesses to search for specific expertise (eg to locate an expert to solve a technical problem), and student grants which are available to support undergraduate and graduate students to work in a commercial R&D environment (such grants may fully fund a student’s wages or scholarship).

The above grants are intended to fund business innovation and so do not cover (for example) market research and validation, or sales and marketing activities.

You can contact Callaghan Innovation directly on 0800 4 CALLAGHAN (0800 422 552) or otherwise please contact David Alizade, Head of Commercial at Baldwins, if you would like to discuss your funding options.

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