Operational Principles

Supervisor's Eligibility

Please review NSERC’s rules for Supervision of the student at the university.

To supervise, faculty members must hold an active research grant as principal investigator or co-investigator from NSERC or an eligible tri-agency research grant administered jointly by NSERC, CIHR and SSHRC at the time of the student’s application OR during the USRA award tenure.

The Discovery Grants Program and some other NSERC research funding programs receive an automatic extension of one year from the funding expiry date to allow the grantees to use funds remaining in the account. Other programs may allow extensions if a request is submitted before the funding expiry date of the grant. Faculty members who have received a grant extension from April 1 of the year their grant terminates to March 31 of the following year are eligible to supervise a USRA student during any session of the extension year and may still be eligible for the year following the extension, if the university’s application deadline is before the end of the extension period.

The results of the Discovery Grant Competition will be released by NSERC in late March/early April yearly and Research Support Services will be communicating them to the PIs and their departments. If the faculty member is unsuccessful, the department can assign an alternate eligible supervisor to the USRA student.

Administration of the Application Process:

  1. Research Support Services (RSS) receives the university quota of awards from NSERC and notifies the Colleges and Student Financial Services of the applicable department award allocations. ONLY ONE RESEARCH PROJECT SUBMISSION PER ALLOCATION IS ALLOWED.
  2. Eligible departments are invited to complete Form 1 (Project Proposal) and submit them to the deans, directors and the chairs of the department. The approved Form 1 must be sent to Student Financial Services and the job description must be submitted to Experience Guelph (see Form 1 for instructions) by the posted deadline. See the Schedule of Dates for the submission deadline.
  3. The proposals will be collated and posted on Experience Guelph and the Student Financial Services Job/Project Listing page. They may be posted in the departments/colleges late January each year.
  4. Substitution of research project submissions is allowed. For example, if a department removes an opportunity for lack of student interest, the project could be replaced provided approval of the chair and administrative obligations are undertaken within the deadlines.
  5. Students can apply to the departments for posted USRA positions. See the Schedule of Dates for the application deadline.
  6. The selection of eligible, successful and appropriate candidates will be made by departments/units. An individual faculty member may have students in the USRA and URA programs. There is no limit on the number of students that a particular faculty member can supervise however, it is expected that there is sufficient time available for faculty to provide adequate levels of supervision and guidance.
  7. Applications submitted by Aboriginal applicants will not be counted as part of the university quota.
  8. Upon receiving the USRA applications, RSS will confirm the eligibility of each supervisor and student.
  9. Colleges are responsible for reporting unused quota to RSS as soon as possible to ensure it may be re-allocated if necessary.

Supervisor's Responsibilities at the Time of Award

  1. Student’s supervisor or department administrator verify the student has uploaded an official, up-to-date transcript to Form 202 Part 1 and verify the application according to the published instructions.
  2. Once the student has completed and validated the form online, he/she must provide the supervisor with the “reference number” provided by the system. Supervisors will not be able to complete Part II of Form 202 on-line if they have not received the reference number. Please note that the reference number is NOT a PIN number.

Instructions for Completing an Application – NSERC online Form 202

NSERC Form 202 Part II (to be completed by supervisor) is available from NSERC in “For Professors" under PDF Forms and Instructions.

Supervisor logs on to the On-line System using the same account you use when applying for NSERC grants and completes Form 202 Part II:

  1. “Grant application no.”: can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the NSERC Notice of Decision letter which you received with you grant funding. This is NOT the U of G grant number. Must be entered.
  2. Be sure to indicate the correct start date indicating the day, month and year (after April 1st for summer competition only). Must be entered.
  3. Provide complete address and contact information of supervisor.
  4. Supervisor then goes back to the My Portfolio page and selects “Verify” to ensure all required information has been entered. Status of application now shows “Completed”.
  5. Supervisor must hit “Submit to LO” on NSERC website.
  6. Submitted Form 202 Part 1 & II will be reviewed and forwarded to NSERC by RSS.

Information on NSERC Research Codes

NSERC Research Codes information is required to complete NSERC Form 202 Part II.

On-line Services Helpdesk (For Technical Assistance & Inquiries)

Tel.: 613-995-4273
E-mail: webapp@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Department Administrators

Application submission to RSS

Following submission of the student and supervisor’s forms, the Department administrator forwards the following information in an email to research.services@uoguelph.ca:

  • NSERC Form 202 Part I & II
  • Student Transcript: a complete and up-to-date ‘official’ transcript from the Office of Registrarial Services OR an up-to-date unofficial transcript generated from ‘Colleague’ which must include a department stamp and an officer’s signature.
  • Please send the USRA applications as one package per department and attach a list of the students’ names and supervisors. Please note that OR-5’s are not required.
  • Please contact RSS (research.services@uoguelph.ca) if an extension is required to fill a position, you are unable to fill a quota, or if a position will be deferred to the Fall semester.
  • If a student has self-identified as an Aboriginal student, these applications are not counted towards the university’s institutional quota. Thus, the department may send another application in addition to this one.


In September each year, after the awards are completed, departments will submit a claim form to Research Financial Services (RFS) for USRAs. This form will be distributed by the RFS, to departments towards the end of the summer.