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NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC USRA)

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Student Research Awards (NSERC USRA)

The NSERC USRA program provides support for research work experience in the natural sciences and engineering.  Undergraduate students work full-time on a research project for 16 consecutive weeks in an academic term (Fall, Winter or Summer) with a faculty member who holds an active NSERC grant.

The NSERC USRA program is quota based with limited number of awards available.  The University distributes the allocated quota to each department based on the number of faculty members who hold active NSERC grants and NSERC scholarship holders in the department.  Questions regarding selection of a supervisor should be directed to the departments.  For Cumming School of Medicine, direct questions to the Bachelor of Health Sciences Office.

Students apply for a NSERC USRA award by completing Form 202 – USRA or Experience Award in the NSERC online system.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada;
  • are registered full-time in a bachelor’s degree program in the natural sciences or engineering;*
  • do not hold higher degrees in the natural sciences or engineering (i.e. MSc or PhD);
  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of their bachelor’s degrees;
  • have achieved a minimum cumulative B average over the entire period of undergraduate studies;
  • have been registered full-time in the term immediately before holding the award;*
  • have not started a program of graduate studies;
  • work on projects in a field of research supported by NSERC and involve R & D; 
  • are supervised by faculty members who currently hold an active NSERC research grant or held one at the time the student applied for the award.


1.  The students’ application must indicate that they were registered full-time throughout their program, except for the final session during which they were only required to register part-time in order to complete their degree.  The award must be held in the session immediately following the students' final session.

2.  Students registered at an eligible university on a full-time basis in a bachelor’s degree program in fields other than the natural sciences or engineering are eligible to apply provided they meet all the other eligibility criteria and that they are engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during tenure of the award.

Value:  $5,625 total: 

  • NSERC contributes $4,500 towards the student stipend
  • Supervisor provides a mandatory supplement (top-up) of at least $1,125

Duration:  16-weeks (4 months) on a full-time basis

University wide application deadline:  January 23, 2017 (competition closed)

The Research Services Office conducts the administrative review of the applications to ensure compliance with NSERC Terms of Reference and guidelines.  Departments conduct the internal ranking of applications.  Contact the supervisor’s department for details on the internal ranking process.  For Departments in Cumming School of Medicine, direct inquiries to the Bachelor of Health Sciences Office.


Questions on application submission and requirements:

Denise Ward
Research Grants Officer
Research Services Office
MacKimmie Tower, Room 300 (MT 300)