Kiwi students can now apply for NASA Internships after agreement with US

Kiwi students can now apply for NASA Internships under a new agreement between the space administration and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The programme will allow "high-achieving students" to "have the opportunity to work in NASA's best and most advanced research facilities, with access to expert mentors," said Economic Development Minister David Parker.

Mr Parker hopes New Zealand's best tertiary students would think about how their skills could be suited to the space industry, including areas like Earth observation, data science, astrobiology and robotics.

"Giving our future innovators, entrepreneurs and scientists opportunities to get a head-start in space-related careers will play a vital role in developing a thriving domestic industry," he explained.

"It also strengthens New Zealand's connection with global space networks and raises New Zealand's profile as a location for space activities.

"New Zealand is well-positioned to become a hub for new space activities with its highly-skilled workforce and expertise in physics, energy, engineering and computer science research."

Alongside the agreement is a new scholarship from the New Zealand Space Agency, which is part of MBIE.

Up to four New Zealand Space Scholarships will be available each year to cover the costs of taking part in the US-based programme.

US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown said he's "very excited" by the opportunity for Kiwi students to work with leading NASA researchers.

"Working on the US-New Zealand relationship is one of the best jobs in the universe, and this Agreement shows why," he said.

Mr Brown said the NASA International Internship Programme offers "the chance to foster innovation, develop modern solutions to modern challenges, and advance scientific breakthroughs".

He calls the agreement "one giant leap in our extensive scientific cooperation - from Antarctic research to investments in health, and onwards to the final frontier".

The New Zealand Space Agency will accept applications from September 10, and plans to provide NASA with student nominations for the June 2019 internship session.