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Funding Business R&D - what are your options?

13 Sep 2018

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At the moment, businesses can apply for a range of Callaghan Innovation R&D grants, or claim a R&D Loss Tax Credit through Inland Revenue. The Government is proposing a new R&D Tax Incentive which is likely to be available from 1 April 2019. The only grant affected by the introduction of the proposed tax incentive is the Growth Grant. All other Callaghan Innovation-administered grants will remain open and it’s a good idea to consider the suitability of the various grants on offer.

The Project Grant and its subset, the Getting Started Grant, are particularly relevant for companies starting out on their R&D journey. They are co-funded at a rate of 40 per cent of eligible R&D costs.

The Getting Started Grant is typically used for a small piece of work (with costs no greater than $12,500) that may help to solve early R&D roadblocks. The Project Grant can be used for any R&D project that meets the funding criteria, and is supported by a robust commercialisation plan. There is no criteria for the size/cost of projects eligible for this grant.

The Project Grant remains an option for businesses growing their R&D programme through defined pieces of R&D work relevant to life cycle stage and key objectives. It also provides regular funding throughout the project’s duration which reduces the financial risk of new product development. The Project Grant has provided many of WREDA’s clients with the extra financial certainty to hire new technical staff and undertake their R&D project with more concentrated resources. This can result in faster delivery on the project and earlier entry to market.

The Student Grants can be used to bring fresh thinking and new expertise into the business to help expand R&D programmes. WREDA can help you build relationships with Tertiary Institutes to access student talent for your R&D projects and connect you to a variety of other internship opportunities. Many businesses use these avenues to benefit from the exceptional emerging talent available throughout our region.

Whether the Tax Incentive or one of the Grants is your preferred option, WREDA in partnership with Callaghan Innovation, will support your R&D activities with connections to innovation programmes; technical expertise; and business capability development. We're here to work with you to help facilitate your business success.

In summary:

  • Proposed R&D Tax Incentive starting 1st April 2019. You can find a recent update on the proposed scheme on, or MBIE have a downloadable resource with frequently asked questions following the consultation process around the R&D Tax Incentives [PDF 300KB].
  • New Growth Grant applications remain available for now. Please talk to WREDA or your Callaghan Innovation contact person to discuss whether a new Growth Grant application is the best option for your business.
  • Existing Growth Grant recipients can opt out of their Growth Grant into the proposed Tax Incentive scheme to take effect from 1 April 2019 but need to consider their tax year for the best time to do this. Appropriate notice needs to be given to Callaghan Innovation (please refer to your funding contract).
  • Existing R&D Tax Credit for loss making businesses continues.
  • Existing Getting Started, Project and Student grants continue.

The criteria for the R&D Grants may not be a fit for all companies at all times, and we can have a discussion with you to determine the best way forward. If you are considering applying for R&D funding, we recommend you review the guidelines so that you know what to expect when beginning your discussion with us.

To get in touch, please contact Mariana Askin on +64 4 382 0078 or through email.

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