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The 2024 competition has 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 starting May 6, 2024
Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 4pm ET. Late applications will not be considered.

For Summer 2024, the department’s quota is 6 awards.

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.

>Black student researchers
>Indigenous student researchers

Applications from self-identified Black and Indigenous students (who meet NSERC USRA eligibility requirements) are strongly encouraged. If you are applying as a black student researcher or indigenous student researcher, please let us know when you email in your application package.

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-. For reference, please see the U of T Grading Scale for undergraduates.
  • Available to conduct research for 40 hours per week for 16 consecutive weeks during the summer

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

List of eligible supervisors

What to Submit

Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 2024 at 4pm ET

Submit to the following (in order) as a single combined PDF, and name your file “2024 USRA – Last Name, First Name

  • Completed Form 202 Part I & II. Please ensure your supervisor inputs May 6, 2024 as the proposed start date on Part II of the application.
  • The most recent academic history report from ACORN. To do this, navigate to the Academic History page via the left navigation. Click “Complete Academic History” towards the top of the page. Next, click the “Print Academic History” button to save your academic history as a PDF.
  • Letter of Intent: a signed one page statement outlining your academic interests, reasons for wanting to participate in research and how this award will benefit your career goals. In this letter include a concise list of your research experience, including (but not limited to) work study, Research Opportunity Program (ROP), independent research/project course, field work, and volunteer experience.

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, 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.”
  • It is your responsibility to complete Part I and your supervising professor to complete Part II. When both parts are completed, the supervisor can verify the forms, but they should NOT “Submit to LO” yet.
  • The most recent academic history report 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 are accepted.
  • Institutions are permitted to recommend an unlimited number of self-identified Indigenous and Black student researchers to the USRA program, above award quota. To be considered for this, Indigenous and Black student researchers must provide consent within their application form to share this information with their institutions and NSERC. These applicants will granted an NSERC USRA given they meet the eligibility requirements. If you are applying as a black student researcher or indigenous student researcher, please let us know when you email in your application package.
  • It is highly recommended that you review the Program Guidelines and Application Procedures prepared by U of T Research Services to ensure your application is complete.

Selection Criteria

  • Priority is given to U of T St. George students.
  • 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.
  • Pleaste note that cGPA is not the only criterion used in selection. Therefore, if your marks are high enough to be eligible and you feel positive about other selection criteria, do not hesitate to apply.
  • Applicants who have held a previous NSERC USRA 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.
  • Keep in mind that the applicant pool varies from year to year and the outcome varies as well. Therefore, if you are interested and eligible, please apply.
  • In order to have more to base a decision on, we ask each student to write a Letter of Intent. This is where you can inform the committee about why you want this award, your academic interests, and how this award will benefit your career goals. This is to be written by you alone, not in collaboration with your supervising professor.
Photo by Nicholas Ypelaar