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The 2023 competition is 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 8, 2023

For Summer 2023, 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 are strongly encouraged and will be considered beyond our allocation of awards. 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-
  • 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

The 2023 competition is 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, 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.
  • If you are applying for an NSERC USRA, you will be automatically considered for the UTEA.
  • Students MAY NOT hold an NSERC USRA simultaneously with any other award (i.e. KSR USRA, UTEA, or CGCS Award, etc.)
  • Please review the following detailed documents prepared by U of T Research Services:

Selection Criteria

  • As with any merit based award, the odds are that the higher your marks, the better your chances of being chosen for an award. However, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • There are only a few criteria by which the selection committee can rank the applicants. 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