The departmental deadline: March 22, 2021

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA)

The Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences will be participating in the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) Program for the summer of 2021. If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies in MCS at the University of Toronto, you should seriously consider submitting an application. This program gives undergraduates the opportunity to work on a project with a clear research goal, under the supervision of a professor who is active at the forefront of his or her field. It is an excellent introduction to research in MCS, and gives undergraduates the opportunity to interact directly with professors, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

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 science and engineering.

Award Value: New this year - Temporary change for 2021-22: Because of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, awards will not be pro-rated this competition year. Anyone awarded a USRA will receive the full $6,000 from NSERC and the minimum 25% top-up ($1,500) from the department. Requests for shortened work terms need not be submitted.

Duration: 16 full consecutive weeks (similar to co-op work terms).  For USRA work terms shorter than 16 weeks, NSERC's approval must be obtained prior to the beginning of the work term. 

USRA Workterm at U of T: The University of Toronto administers this program in the summer term only, between May 1 and Sept. 30 of each year.

Administration: Research Services Office, University of Toronto.

Please contact the Undergraduate Counselor if you are interested in applying for an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award.

Applications are due to the Undergraduate Counselor 
DEADLINE: Monday, March 22, 2021

USRA application information will be captured from the NSERC On-line System. Therefore, all applications MUST be completed by students and their supervisors online (https://ebiz.nserc.ca/nserc_web/nserc_login_e.htm). Applications must be submitted online before the deadline.

MCS potential supervisors:

A.J. Bonner, Computer Science
J. Burgner Kahrs, Computer Science
S. Fidler, Computer Science
A. Garg, Computer Science
I. Gilitschenski, Computer Science
L. Kahrs, Computer Science
M. Liut, Computer Science
A. Petersen, Computer Science
A. Rosenbloom, Computer Science
S. Sachdeva, Computer Science
F. Shkurti, Computer Science
B. Simion, Computer Science
D. Wigdor, Computer Science
D. Zingaro, Computer Science
L. Zhang (Lisa), Computer Science
I. Binder, Mathematics
J. De Simoi, Mathematics
S. Fuchs, Mathematics
M. Groechenig, Mathematics
T. Holden, Mathematics
Y. Karshon, Mathematics
K. Khanin, Mathematics
Y. Liokumovich, Mathematics
A. Rennet, Mathematics
A. Shankar, Mathematics
Y. Shlapentokh-Rothman, Mathmatics
M. Tvalavadze, Mathematics
S. Unger, Mathematics
M. Wesslen, Mathematics
M. Yampolsky, Mathematics
T. Yusun, Mathematics
K. Zhang, Mathematics
L. Al Labadi, Statistics
L.J. Brunner, Statistics
D. Kong, Statistics
A. Nosedal-Sánchez, Statistics
S. Volgushev, Statistics
T. Zhu, Statistics

Application Instructions

For Students (U of T & Non-U of T)

  1. Contact the Undergraduate Office of the department through which you wish to apply and inquire about a supervisor and quota availability. You can apply to more than one department but can only hold one USRA.
  2. Complete the latest version of the application form (Form 202, Part I) online. Follow the instructions and adhere to NSERC’s General Presentation Guideline. HANDWRITTEN APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
  3. Attach a PDF copy of your transcripts (or the university e-transcripts or the most recent academic history report from ACORN to the application form (Part I), after it has been opened and reviewed by the Undergraduate Office.
  4. Once Form 202–Part I has been completed, provide your prospective supervisor with the reference number generated by the system so that s/he may complete Part II of the form.
  5. Once both parts of the form have been completed and verified, the supervisor can submit the USRA application.
  6. If any additional changes are made by either party – you or your prospective supervisor – will require the other party’s verification and confirmation in the online system in order to re-submit the edited application   
  7. In addition, your department requires a copy application and your e-transcripts or most recent academic history report from ACORN, which you will submit to the department Undergraduate Coordinator.
  8. Complete the Student/Supervisor Certification form. It must bear both your and your supervisor’s signatures. The Student/Supervisor Certification form can be found here. Once signed, kindly create a PDF and submit it to Undergraduate coordinator.
  9. Research Services will accept only the application that has been endorsed by the department.

For Supervisors

  1. Once the student has completed Form 202-Part I online, s/he must provide you, as prospective supervisor, with the reference number provided by the system. Supervisors will not be able to complete Part II of Form 202 online if they do not have the reference number.
  2. Log on to the Online System using the same account you use when applying for NSERC grants. Complete Part II of Form 202.
  3. NOTE: The research grant application number is no longer used by NSERC. Enter 999999 or any six-digit number.
  4. Once all the modules have been completed, the proposed university supervisor must go back to the My Portfolio page and select Verify, which will assess whether all required information has been entered. Once verification is complete, the status of the application will be changed to 'Completed.'
  5. No changes should be made to the form after it has been labelled as 'Completed.' If you need to update any information, contact the NSERC On-Line Services Helpdesk. Once both parts of the form have been completed and verified, any additional changes made by either party – you or the student – will require the other party’s verification and confirmation in the online system. 
  6. The proposed supervisor must submit the form to the USRA Liaison Officer, who is a designated member of the RSO, by selecting Submit to LO. Completed online applications will be submitted to NSERC by RSO.
  7. Follow the application checklist carefully.
  8. A Student/Supervisor Certification form must be completed and must bear your and your students’ signatures. The Student/Supervisor Certification form can be found here.

Student Eligibility:

  • Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
  • Registered either full-time or part-time (at the time of application) in a bachelor's degree program in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award. NSERC, however, expects that full-time students will hold most awards.
  • A student is still eligible if they already hold a bachelor’s degree, as long as they are currently studying towards a second bachelor degree in the natural sciences or engineering.

  • 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)
  • Must have completed, at the time of application, a minimum of two academic terms/semesters.
  • Graduating students, in the term immediately following the completion of their undergraduate program requirements, as long as they have not started a program of graduate studies.
  • Be engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the award tenure.

Additional information can be found by visiting the NSERC website