The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) is a great opportunity for undergraduates to work with a researcher and carry out full-time research for a term. The goal of the program is to stimulate your interest in research and to encourage you to pursue a future in research and/or better prepare you for a graduate studies degree. If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, this award provides you with financial support to do so.
If you have any questions, please contact Shoshannah Holdom.
A small number of NSERC USRAs are now available for Winter 2021.
*Please apply by Thursday, October 22.*
Details about the 2021/2022 program will be available in January/February 2021.
|Coop*||Passed||April 27, 2020||October 22, 2020|
|Final for coop and regular||
March 23, 2020
July 3, 2020
July 24, 2020
October 22, 2020
* The co-op deadline is meant for co-op applicants who wish to be taken off WaterlooWorks right from the start and directly use the USRA as their co-op term. If you apply after the co-op deadline, you must check with your co-op advisor that you can use the USRA as your co-op term. If you can proceed with using your USRA as a co-op term, then you must ask your advisor to remove you from WaterlooWorks. The final term deadline applies to all (coop and regular) applicants.
Length of project
- Full-time (35 hours per week) for 16 consecutive weeks (80 working days)
- Can be counted as a co-op work term but you do not need to be a co-op student to be eligible for this award.
- Note: Student is not allowed to be in class full-time or working on another project/job while doing the USRA as it is considered a full-time job.
- $4,500 from the award portion plus the supervisor's contribution. (Updated 08/17/2020) The recommended minimum amount for the supervisor’s contribution is $870 per month or $3,480 per term which means that the total minimum payment for the term would be $7,980.
- Does not include benefits or vacation pay
- The student and/or the supervisor can apply for President's Scholarships to supplement the supervisor's contribution.
- Must have completed one full year of school before starting the USRA, i.e., 2A or higher (students can be in 1B when they apply, and students can do a USRA in the term immediately after degree completion but not later than this)
- Must have a 72% cumulative average or higher
- Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent Canadian resident
- Must find a faculty supervisor before applying
- Only one USRA per student per award year (award year is May 1 to April 30)
- Maximum of three USRAs during undergraduate degree
- Cannot have started a graduate degree or be involved in full-time research and development in natural sciences or engineering
For more information, see Undergraduate Student Research Award.
Supervisors must meet one of the following criteria:
- Hold an active research grant from NSERC, or an eligible tri-agency research grant administered jointly by NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC, by the beginning of the USRA term. If you are unsure whether your grant is eligible and/or if you have applied to a grant, but have yet to hear your results, then please email Shoshannah Holdom.
- Be a newly appointed Assistant Professor.
How to apply
Ensure that you are eligible.
- Find a supervisor that you would like to work with. Contact Shoshannah Holdom for advice or if you are open to the field of study.
- Decide on a research project and clearly define your role and responsibilities with the supervisor.
- Complete the following on the NSERC online system:
- Complete and submit Form 202 - Part I.
- Upload your unofficial transcript if you are a UW student. Otherwise, non-UW students must upload an official transcript (with a legend attached, if applicable).
- Send your reference number to your supervisor (the supervisor will use the student’s reference number to create and link form 202 Part II).
- Ensure that your supervisor completes the online application (Form 202 - Part II).
- Email Shoshannah Holdom when Form 202 (Part I and II) is completed by the student and supervisor before the deadline (see above).