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
- Digital Technologies and other Technology subjects