NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs)

Application period opens: February 15, 2022 

Deadline: March 15, 2022 

First-round offers by: April 8, 2022 

Number of awards available: 37 

Duration: Minimum 16 weeks MayAugust  

Value: $7,500 ($6,000 from NSERC; $1,500 supervisory top-up) 

Last year’s dates for reference only

Specific deadlines change from year to year.

Note: If you are not selected in the first round, your name will be added to a waiting list in case any award becomes available. You may not receive any communication unless you are offered an award.  

If you have questions about NSERC USRAs, email ugta.ece@utoronto.ca or call 416-978-3145. 

Overview  

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is Canada’s largest supporter of discovery and innovation. It looks to fund innovative scientific and technical breakthroughs that will benefit Canada and will help our research community thrive.  

As an undergraduate student, you will be applying for Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs) in the NSERC Discovery grant stream 

Eligibility 

You must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident to apply for an NSERC USRA.  

You must commit to work — consecutively — the full 16 weeks in the summer. NSERC considers USRAs it to be full-time work, and there’s no provision for vacation time or other interruptions. 

You may hold only one USRA per year and are allowed maximum of three USRAs throughout your university career. 

Year of study 

At a minimum, you must have completed two academic terms at the time of applying, which would be in February or March. First-year students are not eligible. 

Currently registered second- and third-year students are given priority for NSERC USRAs. 

Fourth-year students who will complete their graduation requirements immediately before the USRA begins — that is, who apply during their last term of fourth year — are eligible, provided that they do not begin graduate studies while holding the USRA. They will be considered for an award after second- and third-year applicants. 

PEY Co-op students can also apply for the award if they are able to begin full-time USRA research by the May start date. 

Academic standing and credits 

You must have a cumulative average of at least second class (B, or 7376%) in your previous year(s) of undergraduate studies. 

You are permitted to take up to two courses during your USRA (i.e., 0.5 FCE in each summer term) — but only if your USRA supervisor agrees. If your classes are during USRA working hours, you will need to arrange to make up the time. (The USRA should be the priority. If the workload becomes unmanageable, you will need to drop the course.) 

You will not receive academic credits for your USRA project. 

How to apply  

To apply for an NSERC USRA, you must first provide preliminary information on the NSERC website. Follow NSERC’s instructions 

Then, you must submit these four documents to ugta.ece@utoronto.ca: 

  1. 2022 Student Supervisor Certification (PDF) (Make sure the form is dated and signed by both student and supervisor.) 
  2. Form 202Part I (Filled out by the student) 
  3. Form 202 Part II (Filled out by the supervisor)  
  4. Academic transcript. (An official transcript is not required. You can generate an e-transcript or Academic History report directly from ACORN.) 

Your application will only be considered once all four required documents have been submitted. 

Note: Do not submit any extra documents or information (e.g., cover letters).  

Where do I apply? 

The method of applying depends on whether or not you are a U of T student: 

Note: Do not submit multiple applications. Only one application per student will be accepted. 

Form 202 instructions  

Form 202, Parts I and II, should be completed online on the NSERC web page. Follow the instructions provided by NSERC 

Use the NSERC USRA Application Checklist (PDF) to make sure you’ve checked off all the steps for a completed application. 

Note: Handwritten applications will not be accepted. 

Form 202, Part I 

Part I is the section that must be filled out by the student. Below are guidelines to specific fields in the form: 

  • Name of discipline: This refers to the name of your program (e.g., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, etc.). 
  • Institution: Students from U of T should put “University of Toronto. 
  • Department ECE students at U of T should put “Electrical & Computer Engineering, Edward S. Rogers Department of.” Engineering Science students should put “Engineering Science, Division of” 
  • Expected degree completion: Use the YYYY/MMformat. The month will either be June (06) or November (11). 
  • Email address: Use your U of T email address, if you are a current student. 

Once you have finished filling out the form, attach a PDF copy of your academic transcript (or the university e-transcripts, or the most recent academic history report from ACORN) to the application form. Please note that the Undergraduate Office will verify your grades. 

Form 202, Part II 

Once you have completed Part I, you will be given a reference number. Send this number to your supervisor, who will then fill out Part II online. 

Helpful resources 

©2022 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering