2021-2022 NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)

Program Guidelines and Application Procedures for NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) 

Purpose: To provide research work experience that complements the degree program which will encourage students to consider graduate studies and pursue careers in the natural sciences and engineering.

Award Value (temporary change for 2021-22):  $6,000 plus a minimum 25% supplement ($1,500) provided by the Department

DurationThe duration of the award is 16 consecutive weeks on a full-time basis. The USRA program has no provision for sick leave or other interruptions of awards.

Selection process: At UofT the selection is undertaken at the departmental level (against their quota) using NSERC assessment criteria. In 2020 a third criterion was added (c, below).

a. Academic record

b. Research aptitude

c. Expected quality of the training to be received (suitability of the supervisor)

As with all internal research competitions, it is expected that principles of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will be incorporated into the selection process.

Student Eligibility

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
  • Registered either full-time or part-time at the time of USRA application
  • Must have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least second class (a grade of "B" or “B-“, if applicable)

      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 USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31)
  • you may hold a maximum of three 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 at the time of application and in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible institution
  • not have started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering at any time
  • be engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the tenure of the award and not be enrolled in courses.

Supervisor Eligibility

  • NSERC considers anyone that meets eligibility to apply for, and hold, grant funds according to NSERC’s Eligibility Criteria for Faculty (the supervisor need not hold an active NSERC award)
  • Hold, or have a firm offer of, an academic appointment at a Canadian Institution (minimum three-year position or tenure track) as of September 1, 2021
  • Be in a position that requires independent research and allows supervision of HQP

Departmental Quotas and DeadlinesContact the department Undergraduate Office where you wish to apply and inquire about supervisor and quota availability. The CPS Departmental quota for 2021-2022 is 4.

Click here for application procedure and instructions.

Departmental deadline to receive completed application packages is: Friday, January 29th, 2021, 5:00pm. 


Additional information can be found on NSERC website.


Summer 2021 NSERC - USRA Eligible Faculty Supervisors in the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences at University of Toronto Mississauga are:

(click on the name to link to their research web)

Virginijus Barzda, Physics
Andrew Beharry, Chemistry
Ulrich W Fekl, Chemistry
Claudiu Gradinaru, Physics
Patrick Gunning, Chemistry
Jochen Halfar, Earth Science
Voula Kanelis, Chemistry
Ulrich J. Krull, Chemistry
Marc Laflamme, Earth Science
John Lester, Astronomy
Semechah Lui, Earth Science
David McMillen, Chemistry
Joshua N. Milstein, Physics
Kent Moore, Physics
R. Scott Prosser, Chemistry
Sarah Rauscher, Physics
Lindsay Schoenbohm, Earth Science
Jumi A. Shin, Chemistry