Research + Development

Research + Development


Science is an important part of many different industries in New Zealand, and helps to improve people's lives, protect the environment and allows us to develop innovative new products for export.

You can apply science skills in an engineering, technology or applied science career. You can also work in a research role or for a company or organisation that invests in science-based research & development to develop new products.

There are three main types of research:

  • Pure or discovery research aims to increase our understanding of how the world around us works, from discovering new species of native plants to how cancer cells escape the body's control mechanisms.
  • Applied research involves the application of science to practical problems, such as using advanced computer modelling techniques to improve analysis of medical images or finding ways to provide clean drinking water during a natural disaster.
  • Research & development (R&D) uses applied science to make new products and improve processes, for example developing disease-resistant apple trees, better surgical tools or more environmentally friendly paint. 

The main employers of scientists in New Zealand are:

  • Government-funded research institutions such as Plant & Food Research, Callaghan Innovation, NIWA, GNS Science and AgReasearch employ more than 4,000 people, including both discovery and applied scientists
  • Other research instititutions, such as the Cawthron Institute and Malaghan Institute for Medical Research
  • Research & development work takes place in government- and industry-funded research institutions as well as in businesses such as Lanzatech, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and ADInstruments. People with engineering and technology qualifications are in demand, particularly in industry.
  • Universities employ most pure science researchers, but competition for jobs can be fierce
  • Government departments such as the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Conservation also employ scientists

Key tertiary qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Science, Applied Science or Technology (plus a Master’s degree or PhD for most research roles)
  • Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Engineering Technology

Recommended and required school subjects:

  • Maths, especially Calculus (required for engineering)
  • Physics (required for engineering)
  • Chemistry, Biology
  • Statistics & Modelling
  • Engligh
  • Digital Technologies and other Technology subjects

Job roles in this industry

  • Agricultural or Horticultural Scientist

    Agricultural or Horticultural Scientist

    Agricultural or Horticultural Technician

    Agricultural or Horticultural Technician

    Biomedical Engineer

    Biomedical Engineer

    Biomedical Scientist

    Biomedical Scientist
  • Biotechnologist

    Biotechnologist

    Chemical & Process Engineer

    Chemical & Process Engineer

    Chemist

    Chemist

    Climate Scientist + Meteorologist

    Climate Scientist + Meteorologist
  • Design/Product Development Engineer

    Design/Product Development Engineer

    Ecologist

    Ecologist

    Electronics Engineer/Technician

    Electronics Engineer/Technician

    Environmental Scientist

    Environmental Scientist
  • Food Scientist

    Food Scientist

    Forensic Scientist

    Forensic Scientist

    Forestry Scientist

    Forestry Scientist

    Geologist

    Geologist
  • Geophysicist

    Geophysicist

    Geospatial (GIS) Analyst

    Geospatial (GIS) Analyst

    Marine/Coastal Scientist

    Marine/Coastal Scientist

    Mathematical Modeller or Mathematician

    Mathematical Modeller or Mathematician
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist

    Medical Laboratory Scientist

    Microbiologist

    Microbiologist

    Physicist or Medical Physicist

    Physicist or Medical Physicist

    Robotics or Automation Engineer

    Robotics or Automation Engineer
  • Software Developer/Engineer

    Software Developer/Engineer

    Soil Scientist

    Soil Scientist

    Statistician

    Statistician

Companies and organisations in this industry

  • ESR
    ESR
    Landcare Research
    Landcare Research
    Zoetis
    Zoetis
    Canterbury Health Laboratories
    Canterbury Health Laboratories
  • Canterbury Scientific
    Canterbury Scientific
    Orion Health
    Orion Health
    MetService
    MetService
    Scion
    Scion
  • ADInstruments
    ADInstruments
    Rakon
    Rakon
    Plant & Food Research
    Plant & Food Research
    Ravensdown
    Ravensdown
  • Fisher & Paykel Appliances
    Fisher & Paykel Appliances
    Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
    Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
    Callaghan Innovation
    Callaghan Innovation
    Tekron
    Tekron

Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation

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