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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards Program (USRA)


***UPDATED FOR 2024***

This award provides $6,000 
funding from NSERC and an additional (minimum) 25% ($1,500) from faculty for domestic or permanent resident 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 who currently hold a UREAP may not apply for this award using the same project. 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.

To apply:


  • 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,studentresearch@tru.cawith 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:
    1. Mentorship: Include a summary of current research, past or current funding and supporting projects, and past supervision successes
    2. Identify the available equipment/space
    3. Identify how you will provide the required 25% ($1,500) supplementary funding for the student
  • Deadline is January 29th

Eligibility Criteria


  1. Full-time tripartite and bipartite faculty members with on-going or tenure-track appointments and an active research program
  2. Full-time continuing and term certain faculty members holding appointments of more than one year and an active research program
  3. Funding amount - $7,500 ($6,000 from NSERC and a minimum of $1,500 from supervisor)
  4. 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.


  1. A student cannot hold two research awards at one time (e.g., UREAP, USRA)
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Students must obtain official transcripts from the registrar’s office and upload to the NSERC-USRA portal.

Adjudication Criteria

  1. Student Academic Record (30%): Applicant’s academic record will be assessed relative to the average cumulative GPA of the applicant pool
  1. 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).
  1. 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)

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 (SSHRC) are pleased to continue implementing the USRA Black student researchers for competition 2024-2025. 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.

For competition 2024-2025:

  • For NSERC USRAs: Institutions may continue to recommend applications from self-identified Black student researchers beyond their allocation of awards (the current process already in place for Indigenous students). To be considered for this, Black student researchers must provide consent within the application form to share this information with their institutions and NSERC.
  • For CIHR and SSHRC USRAs: Presently, CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers. Institutions are assigned a separate allocation of awards to offer from each agency. Institutions must respect the agency-specific allocation of awards. Refer to the Undergraduate Student Research Awards allocations web page for a list of allocations by institution and by agency.
  • 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 presently, CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers.


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