News and events

Key information about COVID-19

Updated 27 March 2020

open this image in new window: COVID-19 Callaghan Innovation

This article was published on 20 March 2020

Callaghan Innovation is dedicated to informing and supporting our customers and New Zealand’s innovation community, especially at this challenging time. With New Zealand now at Alert Level 4, we have updates to some of our key services.

The information below will be updated regularly as the situation develops.

Our services 

R&D grants

In the current crisis, we know that cash flow and staff retention are urgent priorities for many businesses. So we are being as flexible as possible with our R&D grants process to provide extra support and certainty for businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

If you have any concerns around your Growth, Project, Getting Started, Career or Fellowship Grants, please contact your Callaghan Innovation relationship manager who can talk you through your options. 

We are also prioritising keeping R&D Grants payments on schedule and exploring other support options at this time.

The R&D Tax Incentive

The Government has also recently passed some changes to the R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI) rules under urgency to provide extra cash support to R&D performing businesses, to help support them through the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Read the new PDF icon RDTI refundability fact sheet.

Science and engineering services

With New Zealand now in COVID-19 Alert Level 4, we will cease non-essential on-site services at all our locations for a minimum of four weeks. This will significantly impact our science and engineering services and some delays to project delivery are inevitable.

All non-essential activities involving Callaghan Innovation Research and Technical Services (RTS), the Measurement Standards Laboratory of New Zealand (MSL), Glycosyn and KiwiStar Optics scientists and engineers, which can’t be carried out remotely, have been suspended. 

All sites will be closed over this period, excluding the Gracefield site, which will remain partially open so that key staff and tenants can perform vital activities needed to maintain critical infrastructure and assist with the national COVID-19 response.

We will work with customers remotely, where possible, on projects that can be carried out at home, such as early-stage design and development. If you have current projects with us or are scoping projects with us, your key relationship manager will reach out to you, in due course, to discuss any impact on it. Please let us know as soon as possible though if your project is urgent and business-critical, or essential to your business continuity.

Innovation Skills programmes

If you have any concerns about your ability to complete activities on any of our Innovation Skills programmes within contracted timeframes, we can work through changes there too, so please get in touch. 

We are already in discussions with our Innovation Skills partners to find options for delivering programme content remotely. We will keep you updated on this.

Expert advice 

Your usual Callaghan Innovation advisors are available and here to help - albeit remotely. They can discuss your R&D, innovation and business issues and opportunities and give contingency planning advice.

This includes our Regional Business Partners (RBPs) who can talk with you about your options regarding COVID-19, such as cashflow, tax relief measures, business advice and Government support. RBPs will be more accessible in remote areas over the coming weeks, and will be more focused on business resilience support.

NB: It’s a time of high demand. To speak to an RBP, please register on the RBP website.

Events and workshops

Many local and international trade shows and events have been postponed or cancelled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the EMEX manufacturing expo, National Fieldays, The Factory’s AgTech hackathon, the Kokiri Accelerator programme, and SODA’s NZ Startup Bootcamp

The current status is that public mass gatherings of any size have been cancelled and public venues closed. More information on this can be found here.

We have accelerated our development of new digital and agile ways to deliver and support events, workshops and associated activities. If we can, we’ll look to deliver any events or workshops online. Otherwise they will be postponed or cancelled. 

Registered attendees will be updated directly with supporting posts on social media and in our News & Events section.

Scale-Up NZ

Scale-Up NZ remains fully operational. Businesses can still use the platform to raise the profile of their innovation, find potential partners and connect with each other. Doing this can be exceptionally beneficial at this challenging time. 

The Scale-Up NZ team is prioritising creating profiles for companies with services and capabilities that are relevant to the COVID-19 response. We have also implemented a new ‘coronavirus’ tag so that relevant businesses are easily searchable on the platform, to support collaboration. 

If you have any questions about Scale-Up NZ and its role in the COVID-19 response, please email the team at

Businesses new to Callaghan Innovation 

If you’re not yet a Callaghan Innovation customer, call us on 0800 422 552 or email with any queries. For business support in your region, find and connect with your local Regional Business Partner.

Useful resources for any business

Key government information hubs

For general information on the impact of COVID-19 visit the Government’s Unite against COVID-19 website.

Visit’s dedicated COVID-19 page for business-related information on COVID-19.

Government COVID-19 support package 

For the best information about business relief support visit For the latest Government announcements, including general outlines of business support packages, visit

Information for employers 

Work and Income and Employment New Zealand provide information and guidance on how employers can manage their responsibilities to staff during this time. 

Information for exporters

NZTE has useful tips and advice for exporters managing the impact of COVID-19. Tools include a COVID-19 Business Checklist, Cashflow Health check and Pandemic Business Continuity Plan template. Contact NZTE if you're experiencing export issues related to the virus.

Tax relief for businesses

Inland Revenue is offering tax relief for businesses affected by COVID-19. If you're experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, Inland Revenue has a range of ways to help depending on your circumstances. If you have a tax agent, they should also be able to help.

Other useful links