Operational Principles

Supervisor's Eligibility

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

NSERC no longer requires professors to hold an active grant when applying to supervise a USRA student. NSERC considers anyone who is authorized by their university to independently supervise students to be an eligible supervisor. The suitability of the supervision will be evaluated by the college/department as part of their award selection process.

Form 202 Part II was updated to include a section titled “Expected Quality of the Training to be Received”. This section will now need to be completed before the form can be submitted.

NSERC recommends that USRA applications be assessed on the following three criteria:

  • Academic record
  • Research aptitude, and
  • Expected quality of the training to be received.

The suitability of the supervision and research environment can be evaluated as part of the “expected quality of the training to be received” criterion. This change gives students access to a wider variety of research labs and training environments so they can choose the one that is best suited to their interests and strengths. This will also allow a greater number of early career researchers to host USRA students as they work to establish their careers.

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. NSERC encourages qualified Indigenous and Black students to apply for USRAs. Institutions may recommend applications from Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) and Black students to the USRA competition beyond their assigned academic quota. As such, any faculty that qualifies to hold a USRA may propose a research position that is open only to First Nations, Inuit, Métis and Black applicants. Proposals submitted in this way must follow the same process as other USRA positions, including being approved by the Department Chair and following the specified recruitment timeline. Position responsibilities do not need to be Indigenous or Black focused. Jobs posted in this way should select “USRA+ (Indigenous and Black students)” as the job type when posting in Experience Guelph. Only applicants that identify as First Nations, Inuit, Métis, or Black can be hired into these positions. Students will be asked to self-identify using a pre-screening question as part of the application process. The response to this question will be viewable to the hiring contact. It’s important to note that Indigenous and Black students can also be hired into other open USRA positions.
  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, they must provide the supervisor with the “reference number” provided by the system. Supervisors will not be able to complete Part II of Form 202 online 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 Online System using the same account you use when applying for NSERC grants and completes Form 202 Part II:

  1. “Grant application no.”: is no longer required
  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 to ensure that student has uploaded their "official" transcript to Form 202 Part I.
  5. 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”.
  6. Supervisor must hit “Submit to LO” on NSERC website.
  7. 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.

Online Services Helpdesk (For Technical Assistance & Inquiries)

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

Department Administrators

Application submission to RSS

The Department administrator forwards the following information in an email to research.services@uoguelph.ca:

  • A list of USRA faculty supervisors and their USRA students as the applications are verified by the supervisors on the NSERC portal.
  • Please ensure the USRA applications are complete and "submitted" on the NSERC portal before forwarding the list of USRA applications.
  • There is no need for the department administrators to prepare a department submission package of Forms 202 Parts I and II along with official transcripts.
  • RSS will pull the USRA applications from the NSERC portal.
  • 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 is Indigenous and has self-identified, these Indigenous-only USRA applications are not counted towards the 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.