Undergraduate Research Awards with CPS

For application procedures and instructions, please click here.


1. NSERC Undergraduate Students 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.

Summer 2023 Award Value: $6,000, plus a minimum of 25% supplement ($1500); paid in 4 instalments over the Summer Term (May to August).

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 TBD.
  • Be in a position that requires independent research and allows supervision of HQP.
  • A list of eligible CPS Faculty members can be found at the bottom of this page. 

Departmental deadline to receive completed application packages for the Summer 2023 NSERC USRA with CPS is: Monday, January 30th, 2023 by 5:00pm. 

Additional information can be found on NSERC website.

2. University of Toronto Excellence Award (UTEA) 

In addition to the quota for the NSERC USRA fellowships for the Department, there may be one university-funded additional fellowship (equally prestigious) added to the pool. Typically in the past, international students have also been considered for the UTEA.

Summer 2023 Award Value: $7,500; paid $1,500 per month for five months (to be confirmed).

Application Process: students applying for the NSERC USRA are automatically considered for the UTEA. International students looking to apply for the UTEA should follow the same application procedures, instructions and deadline listed above for the NSERC USRA. 

3. CPS Science Leadership Equity Advancement Program (LEAP) Scholar Award

The CPS Science Leadership Equity Advancement Program (LEAP) Scholar Award is aimed at supporting Black and Indigenous undergraduate students who wish to pursue research in the Chemical and Physical Sciences. 

Summer 2023 Award Value: $6,000, plus a minimum of 25% supplement ($1500); paid in 4 instalments over the Summer Term (May to August).

Application Process: We currently offer 2 Science LEAP Scholar Awards in addition to the NSERC USRA and UTEA. To be considered for this award, students should apply for an NSERC USRA and/or UTEA award (see above sections for details). We ask that, in addition to the application materials requested for these awards, you submit a one paragraph justification statement for why you wish to be considered for the Science LEAP Scholar Award.

Note: this expression of interest does not affect your NSERC USRA / UTEA award application, both of which will be given priority. However, due to the limited number of NSERC USRA / UTEA awards available, the Science LEAP Scholar Award provides additional research support to promising young Black and Indigenous researchers.

Additional Requirements: Student’s must self-identify as Black or Indigenous.  This award is open to both domestic and international students with a valid student visa for the full summer work term.

NSERC USRA Eligible Faculty Supervisors in the Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences at the 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
Maciej D. Korzynski, Chemistry
Marc Laflamme, Earth Science
Semechah Lui, Earth Science
David McMillen, Chemistry
Joshua N. Milstein, Physics
Kent Moore, Physics
Alana Ogata, Chemistry
R. Scott Prosser, Chemistry
Sarah Rauscher, Physics
Lindsay Schoenbohm, Earth Science
Jumi A. Shin, Chemistry