NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards March 2018 to April 2019


Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)


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.

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 website.


  • 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; and
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least  B standing (70% average) or greater.
  • 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.
  • You may hold only one university USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).
  • 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; and
  • 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, 2018.

Funding Availability

$8,154 (minimum) based on minimum wage of $14.00/hr. plus 4% vacation pay. In addition to the salary costs over NSERC contribution of $4,500, the supervisor is responsible for benefit costs of 9.00%.

Project Duration

Full 16 week period (35 hours/week)

Special Notes

NSERC will be announcing a small number of supplementary awards for the Fall 2018 addition to the regular quota. Please note that these cannot be carried over to the Winter 2019 semester, as unused quotas will have to be returned to NSERC. There may be further additional supplementary awards announced for the Winter 2018 semester. Departments may wish to keep a “B” list of eligible USRA applicants if they qualify for either the Fall 2018 or Winter 2019 semesters, in the event they are allocated any supplementary awards. The Office of Research Services will announce the availability of supplementary awards to colleges as we become aware of them.


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

Internal Deadline

Departments send a copy of the application (Form 202 Part I & II) and the student’s OFFICIAL* transcript to the Office of Research Services in hard copy or scanned copy (research.services@uoguelph.ca). NSERC will not accept unofficial transcripts.

Please send these as one package per department and attach a list of the students’ names and supervisors. Please contact Ornella McCarron 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 2018 semester.  Please note that OR-5’s are not required.

If a student has self-identified as an Aboriginal student, these applications are not counted towards the quota (another application should be sent in addition to this one, or let Ornella McCarron know if the department cannot fill it).

*Student Transcript: a complete and up-to-date ‘official’ transcript from the Registrar’s Office OR an up-to-date unofficial transcript generated from ‘Colleague’ which must include a department stamp and an officer’s signature.

How to Apply

At the time of application, the student completes Form 202 Part 1 and uploads their unofficial summary of grades from WebAdvisor (if an official transcript is not yet available) to the NSERC site and then verifies their USRA application. Students from other Canadian Universities must upload an up-to-date, complete official transcript including the legend to the NSERC website, then verify.  Student prints Form 202 Part 1 along with unofficial transcript and any other information requested by department (if applicable) and submits to contact person listed in the job posting by the deadline set.

When job offered, student’s supervisor or department administrator to inform student to upload an official*, up-to-date transcript to Form 202 Part 1. The transcripts must be uploaded and saved into a single Portable Document Format (PDF) file. They must also be scanned (black and white recommended), and whenever possible, in portrait style. You must include one copy of the legend located on the back side of each transcript. Do not scan the legend multiple times. Note that it may take students three to five days to receive an official transcript from the registrar's office.

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, 2018 and must be 16 weeks in duration.  Please ensure that the correct start date is entered on Form 202 Part II

For Supervisor Form 2 Part II: Grant application number comes from your NSERC Notice of Decision. Please do not use the grant account number.

*Student Transcript: a complete and up-to-date ‘official’ transcript from the Registrar’s Office OR an up-to-date unofficial transcript generated from ‘Colleague’ which must include a department stamp and an officer’s signature.

More Information:

NSERC USRA program information
NSERC On-line Services
University of Guelph Student Financial Services – USRA information


For Questions, please contact

Office of Research

Ornella McCarron, Grants Officer
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52832

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