Including $75.2 million for business R&D grants!

New Zealand's 2013 Budget announcement last week includes a package of three internationally focused growth initiatives (totalling $400 million) designed to lift kiwi exports to 40 percent of GDP by 2025:

Science and innovation - $200 million of new funding over the next four years for science, innovation and research including Business R&D grants, repayable grants for start-ups, National Science Challenges and the Marsden Fund.

Tourism - $158 million over four years to attract more visitors to New Zealand, particularly high-spending visitors. This includes $7 million over four years for Immigration to help boost tourist numbers by improving visitor facilitation.

International education - $40 million over four years to strengthen New Zealand education's presence in key international markets.

Science & Innovation

Science & Innovation funding totalling $200 million over the next four years includes:

  • $75.2 million for business R&D grants
  • $31.3 million for repayable grants for start-up businesses
  • $73.5 million for the National Science Challenges
  • $20 million for the Marsden Fund


Nearly $130 million goes to Callaghan Innovation to encourage kiwi businesses to invest more in research and development, and to support new start-ups including expanded revamped R&D grants as summarised further below.

Also announced is $2 million in new funding to launch the New Zealand Story project – an initiative to help New Zealand companies gain a competitive advantage from the use of the New Zealand brand in international markets.

The Marsden Fund ($20 million) will enable New Zealand's top scientific researchers to conduct quality research in their fields of expertise. The support for the Marsden Fund follows the announcement of the National Science Challenges earlier this month. On 1 May, the Government announced 10 research areas under the National Science Challenges initiative, including an increase of $73.5 million over four years for the Challenge projects.

R&D Growth Grants

  • This is an expanded version of the previous Technology Development Grant
  • A three year grant programme targeted at substantial R&D performers
  • Provides 20 per cent public co-funding for qualifying firms' R&D programmes
  • Businesses with a minimum of $300,000 of R&D spending in New Zealand, and at least 1.5 per cent of revenue spent on R&D over last two years will be eligible
  • After two years of funding, businesses can be re-assessed for a further three years funding
  • The cap on funding per annum will increase to $5 million (from $2.4 million)

R&D Project Grants

  • Project grants are targeted at firms with smaller R&D programmes and those that are new to R&D
  • Project grants will typically provide 30-50 per cent public co-funding
  • Project grants will be repayable under certain circumstances – particularly if a business shifts its R&D activity offshore
  • Businesses who receive the R&D Growth Grants will only be eligible for project grants for collaborative cross-industry R&D projects

R&D Student Grants

  • Student grants will provide support for undergraduate and postgraduate students to work within R&D active businesses

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

James & Wells Intellectual Property, three time winner of the New Zealand Intellectual Property Laws Award and first IP firm in the world to achieve CEMARS® certification.