Otago University has launched an internship programme to link Maori science students with iwi businesses.
The trial programme will place three university students at Crown research institute Industrial Research Ltd and in Maori businesses for 10 weeks over the summer.
The internships were launched at the 25th conference of the Federation of Maori Authorities in Taupo.
University research and enterprise deputy vice-chancellor Richard Blaikie says iwi businesses are calling out for more scientific input.
"We have to care about pathways for our students ... that they have an understanding of what the needs are out in the business community.
"The Federation has an oversight of a very significant part of the New Zealand business community now."
Professor Blaikie says if the pilot works well, he expects other universities and research institutes to follow suit.