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NSERC USRA

The 2022 competition is now closed.

Award Value: Minimum of $7,500. $6,000 is provided by NSERC, with a minimum supplement of $1,500 provided by the supervisor or department. Any supplement above this level may be set at the supervisor’s or department’s discretion.
Duration: 16 weeks
Deadline: TBD
Late applications will not be considered.

NSERC USRAs 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 by providing research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting.

Eligibility Requirements

  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada
  • have completed a minimum of two terms at the time of application and by the start of the USRA term in May
  • have a cumulative average of at least a B-
  • are available to conduct research for 40 hours per week for 16 consecutive weeks during the summer

For a full listing of student eligibility requirements, please visit the NSERC USRA website.

List of eligible supervisors.

What to Submit

The 2022 competition is now closed.

Important Points & Resources

  • You must use NSERC Online Services to complete your part of the form (Part I). When you register, you will be given a reference number that you pass on to your supervising professor. Your supervisor will use that number to access and complete their part of the form (Part II).
  • Under “Name of discipline,” please enter your undergraduate program of study (e.g., Biodiversity and Conservation Biology; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Environmental Biology, Biology, etc.). Under “Department,” please enter the name of the department that sponsors the program you are enrolled in (i.e. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Do not put the Faculty of Arts and Science under “Department.” 
  • The academic history report that you can generate directly from ACORN is an acceptable form of a transcript and can be uploaded to the NSERC Online system and included in your application package.
  • Digital signatures will be accepted.
  • Applicants with Indigenous status will be automatically granted a NSERC USRA award given they meet the minimum program requirements.
  • Please note: if you are applying for an NSERC USRA, you will be automatically considered for the UTEA.
  • Please review the following detailed documents prepared by U of T Research Services:

Selection Criteria

  • Assuming all other variables pertaining to the application are met, students with the highest cGPA receive priority. The committee also looks at what courses the student has taken, especially courses that are of relevance to the project, as well as the student’s letter of intent.
  • Students in their second, third or fourth year of study are eligible. However, it is recognized that students in their second year have other chances to apply, and this is the last chance for a student in their final year.
  • Applicants who have held a previous NSERC USRA (or UTEA) receive lower priority.
  • A maximum of two applications per lab will be accepted. The sponsoring researcher will be asked to rank both applicants. The second-ranked applicant receives lower priority.
Photo by Nicholas Ypelaar