NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards April 2021 to March 2022

Sponsor

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

For More Information

Please visit  NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards website, University of Guelph Student Financial Services - USRA website and the NSERC On-line Services website for the information below:

Description

Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to nurture your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies in these fields. If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host university. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students to apply for this award.

USRA applicants are required to submit a scanned copy of their Official Transcript with their application. More detailed information on eligibility, how to apply and operational principles for researchers and department administrator can be found on the University of Guelph Student Financial Services - USRA Eligibility website.

NSERC Continuation of accommodations due to COVID-19

In light of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC will be continuing the following accommodations for the 2021/22 competition cycle:

  • Remote supervision of projects will be permitted. Supervisors must hold regular meetings with USRA holders via phone or video calls.
  • Work terms do not need to be 16 weeks long, and can be less than 12 weeks.
  • NSERC will honour the full value of the award regardless of the length of the work term. Universities are required to provide the minimum 25% top-up.

Should local public health recommendations allow, the preference is for USRAs to be held in person, but remote supervision will be allowed without additional justification to NSERC.  Should the project allow, students who prefer to work remotely should not be penalized.

Eligibility

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada as of the deadline date for applications at the university
  • Be registered, at the time you apply, in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university
  • Have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least  B standing (70% average) or greater
  • Have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor’s degree program at an eligible university. Note: students registered in co-op placements over these terms are eligible.
  • USRAs may be held during co-op placements. Co-op students are eligible to concurrently hold a co-op placement and a USRA provided that the co-op credit does not count towards the academic requirements of the Bachelor Degree program.
  • Please note: The USRA is a full-time activity. Award holders may take a maximum of one course in addition to their USRA with the agreement of their supervisor. If the course is during normal working hours, special arrangements with the supervisor must be made for the student to make up the time spent on the course. Students should not receive academic credits for the work done during the term of a USRA. In particular, USRA holders are not permitted to do thesis research during the term of the award.

In addition...

  • If you already hold a bachelor's degree and are studying toward a second bachelor's degree, you may still apply for this award.
  • Have not held a previous USRA in this fiscal year (April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022).
  • You may hold a maximum of three university USRAs throughout your undergraduate university career.

To hold an award, you must:

  • Have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor's degree
  • Have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university
  • Not have started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering at any time
  • Be engaged on a full-time basis (35 hours week) in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the tenure of the award
  • Have a project start date after April 1, 2021

Funding Availability

The value of the USRA award is $6,000

Maximum Project Value

Rate of pay must be at least minimum wage ($14.25/hr) plus 4.0% vacation pay and 9.0% mandatory benefits (CPP, EI etc.). The rate of pay can be higher if supplemented by the supervisor.

  • The minimum amount paid to the student must be $9,045.00 made up of:
    • $14.25/hr x 35 hrs/wk x 16 wks = $7,980
    • $7,980 x 4.0% vacation pay = $319
    • ($7,980 + $319) x 9.0% benefits = $746
  • Accounting for the NSERC reimbursement of $6,000, the minimum contribution paid by the supervisor per USRA student is $3,045 ($9,045 – $6,000)

NSERC Continuation of accommodations due to COVID-19

  •  NSERC will honour the full value of the award regardless of the length of the work term. Universities are required to provide the minimum 25% top-up.

 

 

Project Duration

NSERC Continuation of accommodations due to COVID-19 

  •  Work terms do not need to be 16 weeks long, and can be less than 12 weeks - (35 hours/week) beginning after April 1, 2021.

Special Notes

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.

NEW: 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.

Academic supervisors must ensure that permits and certifications are in place prior to conducting research, particularly research involving human participants, animals or hazardous materials required under UG Responsible Conduct of Research Policy and Procedures

Please note that research activities carried out in the context of COVID-19 need to adhere to the University of Guelph COVID-19 research principles, policies, guidelines and processes as they may be updated from time to time and communicated on the Office of Research web-page.

Deadlines

If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

TypeDateNotes
Internal Deadline
  • 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 or Winter semester.
  • If a student has self-identified as an Indigenous student, these applications are not counted towards the university’s institutional quota. Thus, the department may send another application in addition to this one.

How to Apply

Student: University of Guelph Student Financial Services - URSA How to Apply

Supervisor: University of Guelph Student Financial Services - URSA Operational Principles

Once the job is offered and accepted, the supervisor then completes Form 202 Part II (obtains reference number from student on Part I) and verifies, saves and “submits to LO” on NSERC website. 

For the Summer Competition:  The start date for the USRA must be after April 1, 2021. Please ensure that the correct start date is entered on Form 202 Part II

For Supervisor Form 2 Part II: Grant application number can be left blank.

NEW: 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 Undergraduate Student Research Awards
NSERC On-line Services
University of Guelph Student Financial Services – USRA

For Questions, please contact

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)
usra-brpc@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

Office of Research

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Office of Research Services
519-824-4120 x52832
omccarro@uoguelph.ca

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