NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards Program (USRA)
***UPDATED FOR 2023***
This award provides $6,000 funding from NSERC and an additional (minimum) 25% ($1,500) from faculty for undergraduate students in the natural sciences and engineering to engage in research over a 16-week period over the summer (May to August). These are competitive national-level awards (unlimited awards available for Indigenous Students). Students must discuss this opportunity with a faculty member they would like to work with. Faculty members who are authorized to independently supervise students may mentor.
- Submit a personal essay (250-words max) providing examples of research strength (i.e. prior research experience, academic achievement, volunteer experiences) directly to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies,email@example.com, with the subject line USRA - Student Research Aptitude.
- Complete the application process in NSERC's research portal
- In form 202 under "Expected Quality of Training to be Received," please include the following information:
- Mentorship: Include a summary of current research, past or current funding and supporting projects, and past supervision successes
- Identify the available equipment/space
- Identify how you will provide the required 25% ($1,500) supplementary funding for the student
- Deadline is January 29th
- Full-time tripartite and bipartite faculty members with on-going or tenure-track appointments and an active research program
- Full-time continuing and term certain faculty members holding appointments of more than one year and an active research program
- Funding amount - $7,500 ($6,000 from NSERC and a minimum of $1,500 from supervisor)
- NEW: To diversify both student research experiences and provide additional opportunity to new researchers, supervisors DO NOT have to be NSERC grant-holders. However, the supervisor needs to satisfy requirements 1, 2, and 3 above.
- A student cannot hold two research awards at one time (e.g., UREAP, USRA)
- A student can hold one USRA per fiscal year (April 1st to March 31st) and up to a maximum of 3 during their undergraduate program
- A student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.67, completed all first-year courses for their program of study, and been a registered student in the Fall or Winter semester preceding the summer for which the award is granted.
- Students must obtain official transcripts from the registrar’s office and upload to the NSERC-USRA portal.
- Student Academic Record (30%): Applicant’s academic record will be assessed relative to the average cumulative GPA of the applicant pool
- Student Research Aptitude (35%): The student will submit a personal essay (250-word maximum) providing examples of research areas of strength (i.e., prior research experience, academic achievement, volunteer experiences).
- Expected Quality of the Training to be Received (35%): The NSERC-USRA fosters research interest and development and often acts as a steppingstone to further research at the Masters and/or Doctoral levels. In essence, the quality of the training is crucial in fostering research interests in the natural sciences and engineering. Includes (i) Outline of student’s role (outlined in Form 202 Part II), and (ii) Expected Quality of Training to be Received (outlined in Form 202 Part II)
***NEW UPDATES 2023****
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) are pleased to implement the new USRA Black student researchers starting competition 2023-2024. These funds will help address the disproportionate underfunding of Black scholars at the undergraduate level; will contribute to making Canada’s research culture more equitable, diverse and inclusive; and will strengthen Canada’s innovation potential.
Starting competition 2023-24:
- For NSERC USRAs: Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Black student researchers for USRAs beyond their allocations of awards (the current process already in place for Indigenous students).
- For CIHR and SSHRC USRAs: at the present time, USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers and eligible institutions will receive an allocation from each granting agency based on their average of the total sum of CIHR or SSHRC grant funding received over the three available fiscal years.
- CIHR and SSHRC students will apply to the program using NSERC online system and hereby disclose that they self-identify as Black and understand that this information will be shared with the institution to which they apply.
- Regardless of the granting agency, students must create their application using the NSERC online system and must select the agency whose mandate (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC) aligns best with their field of research (health, natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and humanities).
- The eligibility criteria are the same across the agencies for the Black student researchers funding. One exception is that at the present time, CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers.
***ONLINE PORTAL WILL BE CLOSED FROM JANUARY 16-19, 2023 TO ALLOW REQUIRED UPDATES TO THE ONLINE SYSTEM***