NEC AI pharmaceutical development internship

The Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono and NEC are excited to announce the 2024 NEC AI Pharmaceutical Development internship.

The internship is open to final year undergraduate students, graduate students and recent graduates who have or are studying towards a degree in computer science or computer engineering. 

The successful candidate will be placed in NEC’s AI Drug Development Division at their Tokyo office.

The intern will join a technical team engaged in developing systems for analysis of bio/medical data and clinical trials.

The intern will be given meaningful work relevant to their area of study and a mentor will oversee the intern’s professional development and overall welfare.

The internship will take place over three months starting in late November 2024, finishing in February 2025. 

The purpose of the Foundation's internship programme is to provide New Zealand tertiary students with an experience of working in a business environment in Asia in order to gain a better understanding of the people, places and culture of the host country.

The 2024 application round for this internship has now closed

About NEC Corporation

NEC is an IT corporation with major operations in IT services and social infrastructure. It has an AI drug development division that focuses on areas such as personalised cancer immunotherapy and universal vaccines for infectious diseases, employing cutting-edge IT technology, including artificial intelligence.

NEC is committed to collaborating with partners worldwide to develop breakthrough medicines.

What the intern will do

The intern will have the opportunity to (but not limited to):  

  • gain experience with genomic data analysis of patients with cancer and infectious diseases  
  • validate AI that will be used to manufacture vaccines for cancer and infectious disease patients.


To be eligible for this internship, applicants must:  

  • have New Zealand citizens or have permanent resident status
  • be final year undergraduate students, graduate students and recent graduates who have or are studying towards a degree in computer science or computer engineering*
  • be have in good health
  • Python programming experience.

*Graduate students are preferred for this internship, but final year undergraduates with sufficient skills and understanding of the work involved will also be considered.

Who we're looking for

The successful candidate will: 

  • be adaptable, mature, reliable, and resilient 
  • be interested in pursuing a career involving AI development or drug development
  • be willing to develop their capacity for working in cross-cultural environments. 
  • have previous expertise in analysing bio/medical data
  • have experience with Python programming.

The ability to speak Japanese is not a requirement of this internship.

What's covered

The Foundation will cover:

  •   return airfares
  • accommodation
  • most living costs.

The intern will be required to:

  • contribute $500 of their own funds to cover some living expenses while offshore
  • take out appropriate travel insurance (subsidised by the Foundation).

The Foundation and NEC will jointly deliver pastoral care to provide for the intern’s professional development and overall welfare. The Foundation manages the recruitment process and post-offshore professional development activity. 

Terms and conditions

Interns are expected participate in Foundation professional development activities and networking events after they return and seek opportunities to share their internship experience. Sharing your experience with others is an important part of this initiative as it enlightens others about the Foundation, the internship programme and developments in Asia. 

Successful applicants will be required to agree to the standard Terms and Conditions for Asia New Zealand Foundation funding recipients.

Reporting requirements

Foundation interns are expected to write a 600-word article (with accompanying photos) on their internship that will appear on the Foundation’s website (to be submitted during the internship) and write a final three-page report evaluating the internship experience at the end of the programme.

How to apply

The 2024 application round has now closed

Key dates

  • Applications have now closed
  • Shortlisted applicants will be notified by early August 2024
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an in-person or online panel interview to select the successful candidate. 
  • The successful candidate will be advised in September 2024
  • All selected interns will be supported to attend a group induction day in Auckland in late November 2024.  
  • The internship will take place over three months starting in late November 2024 and finishing in February 2025.


If you have a question about the internships, please first check our 'What you need to know' page.

If your question is not answered there, email the Foundation’s project officer (internships) Joyce Bonde: