FAQs for Organisations

How many students apply for your programme? What background do they have?

In 2017 over 80 students applied and we placed over 20 students at 7 partner organisations. Students were from all over New Zealand, predominantly studying STEM based subjects. To apply for the programme students must be enrolled at a New Zealand university at the time of application. International students are welcome to apply but they must ensure that accepting a place does not contravene their visa requirements.

What services do you offer as part of your internship programme?

Our partner organisations typically host either a single student, or a team of three student interns with at least one postgraduate student who acts as team leader. We prefer to place teams because our experience is that the students get more out of the experience and the outcomes are often much more substantial. Interns usually work at the organisation for a ten-week period over the summer (mid-November to mid-February) on a project of the organisation’s choice. Students are highly numerate with good computer and communication skills. We are happy to advertise for students with other skill sets that are useful to our partners.

Over the last two years we have partnered with a number of government departments and agencies, small and large businesses, and several iwi organisations.

What costs are associated with your programme?

Students are paid a stipend managed through the University of Auckland. Costs are covered by the partner organisation and are predominantly student scholarship payments. We also provide a small payment to the academic supervisor and charge a small administration cost. See below for example budgets.

Is the stipend tax-free?

Provided it can be agreed that the primary purpose of the project will be for the student’s educational benefit rather than a benefit for the partner organisation, the student stipend is likely to be exempt from income tax. If this is not the case, for example if the organisation considers that any project IP will lie with the organisation rather than the student, then there may be some complications and/or further costs.

What resources do you provide candidates with?

Interns attend a two-day workshop at the beginning of their internship covering professional skills, ethics, and an introduction to software carpentry. Te Pūnaha Matatini also appoints an academic supervisor, who will typically meet with the students 2-3 times over the internship. The academic supervisor provides technical advice and monitors student well being. On a project-by-project basis, Te Pūnaha Matatini provides access to further resources, including high-performance computing, data storage, software, and university library access.

What happens/what do you cover at the two-day workshop you hold at the beginning of the programme and what is covered?

The workshop is an opportunity for students to meet each other. There are sessions on professional skills including expectations of the partner organisations, the academic supervisors and the interns; professional relationship skills; attitude and work ethic; and ethical use of data. We also run sessions on software carpentry, which introduces the core computing skills needed to be productive in a small research team.

How does your recruitment process work? Would there be scope for shortlisting to happen at your end, and interviews to be conducted by the individual partner organisations?

We advertise in August with a closing date in early September. We advertise with all New Zealand universities, usually through their scholarships office. We also use social media and our own networks. The advert provides general information on the types of projects available. However, we can include short specific project descriptions on our website with partner logos etc. We also provide testimonials from previous students. We do an initial screening of candidates for their general suitability and can then either forward a short list to the partner for them to run their own selection process or make selections on the partner’s behalf. Some, but not all, organisations will choose to conduct interviews. Once partners have agreed on preferred candidates we finalise the selection and allocate candidates to placements. Please note that if you choose this option there is a very tight turnaround time for selections.

Can students express a preference for our specific project in the application process?

Yes, we give candidates an opportunity to express a preference for a particular programme or project in their application. If relocation costs are not available we try to place students in an area they are currently studying or their hometown.

What makes a successful placement?

Ten weeks is a relatively short period of time. A successful project has clear goals and is well-prepared before it starts. Any data required should be sourced before the start of the project.

How can we get our project included in your programme?

Before a project can be included we need to have a signed contract in place administered by our research manager Kathryn Morgan. This covers finances, IP agreements, contact person etc. We also need a project description, if appropriate, a list of specific skills the intern needs and any other project specifics.

What if we have an intern project that may take more than 10 weeks?

We can help with that. Please contact our Programme Leader Alex James for more information.

Who can we contact for more information before we commit to the programme?

Our project leader Alex James.


Timeline 2018-19


  • Mid July – applications open
  • 7 Sep – applications close
  • 24 Sep – shortlists to project leaders
  • 5 Oct – project leaders return preferences
  • 15 Oct – begin to inform successful candidates
  • 19-20 Nov – training days
  • 26 Nov – internships start
  • 15 Feb – internships end