Deadline for applications: February 15, 2021

IMPORTANT REMINDER: The EDI Survey is to be completed as part of each student’s application. The survey link can be found here: 


Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) allow undergraduates the opportunity to gain research work experience in the natural sciences and engineering fields. Over 16 weeks, USRA award recipients are expected to conduct full-time research work with a supervisor.  Awards typically begin on May 1, but may begin later, provided the work is concluded by August 31.

The minimum amount of the award ($8,274.30 CDN). NSERC provides $6,000, with the supervisor providing a minimum of $2,274.30 (Note: Physics project supervisors contribute a higher amount).

Student Eligibility

PLEASE NOTE: Students may hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31)

In addition, applicants must:

  • hold Canadian citizenship or be a permanent resident of Canada
  • be currently registered in an undergraduate program, having completed all course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of a bachelor’s degree
  • hold a CGPA of at least (“B”, 74% or “B-”, 70%)***

***for students applying with a supervisor in the Department of Neuroscience, the minimum CGPA requirement is 11.0

The following are not eligible to hold a USRA:

  • Students currently enrolled in an undergraduate professional degree program in the health sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, BScN)
  • Students who have held three USRA’s
  • Students who have started graduate studies or hold a graduate degree**
  • Students who have graduated

**If you already hold a bachelor’s degree and are studying towards a second bachelor’s degree, you may still apply to this program

Supervisor Eligibility

To be eligible to supervise USRA holders, faculty members must be eligible to supervise undergraduate students in the natural sciences and engineering. Eligibility of supervision will be authorized by the Department/School (subject to the final approval by the university) based on its criteria, including a track record of quality research programs and  the quality of the proposed research project, which should be beneficial to USRA students, and the ability and commitment of providing the minimal portion of the funding set by NSERC from faculty’s research fund.


  • Any faculty member authorized by the institution to independently supervise students in the natural sciences or engineering fields
  • Supervisors must meet the minimum contribution of $2,274.30 using NSERC or any other research or faculty approved funds per USRA student

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and SGBA

In accordance with the Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan, NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are NSERC priorities. NSERC is in the process of integrating sex, gender and diversity considerations into its evaluation criteria. Our community will be informed of changes and effective dates in advance of application deadlines. Applicants should refer to pages 5 to 7 in the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application for more information

How to Apply

  • Students apply through the Faculty where they request to hold their award (the supervisor’s Faculty, not necessarily the student’s)
  • The internal deadline for the Faculty of Science is: February 15, 2021
  • Students from other universities may also apply


NEW: A separate submission of printed documents (transcripts, cover page, printouts of Form 202 Part 1 and Part II) are no longer necessary.  All documents should be submitted online.

1. Application Form: NSERC form 202, Part I and Part II

  • Create an NSERC online portfolio
  • Create a Form 202 from the drop down menu, and follow the instructions
  • Students complete Form 202 Part I, and forward the reference number provided by the system to their potential supervisor(s) – this is required to link Parts I and II
  • Students upload a PDF of official transcripts
  • Supervisors complete Form 202 Part II

2. Neuroscience applicants – additional information

  • Applicants interesting in pursuing an NSERC USRA within the Department of Neuroscience are asked to complete an additional application form, located here


  • Complete Form 202 – Part II in the NSERC portal
  • NEW: Form 202 section “Expected Quality of Training to be Received”
  • Provide the fund number and the amount of your contribution (minimum contribution is $ 2,274.30) and (NEW) indicate whether the research will be done off-campus to your Faculty administrator

Deadline for applications

Completed online applications to be submitted by: February 15, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. EDT

Please note that applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Award Decisions

Each Faculty will inform applicants of its award decisions after it has completed its selection process.