Undergraduate Student Research Awards

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Are you an undergraduate student who would like to obtain research experience in an academic setting?

Students holding these Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) USRA awards work on research projects with eligible academic professors. The program creates interesting research-related jobs and gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.


This USRA award is derived from two sources; the NSERC 'award' portion and a Faculty supplement:

  • The NSERC award portion is $4,500 
  • The faculty supplement is valued at a minimum $3,676 + 9.8% (for statutory benefits) 


Students must be engaged on a full time basis (35 hrs per week) in research and development activities in the natural sciences and engineering during the 16 week tenure of the award. The competitions are announced in January; awards can be held in the proceeding Summer, Fall or Spring terms.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for an NSERC USRA, a student must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • be registered at the time they apply in a Bachelor's degree program at an eligible university; and
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least 2.67 or a B- average.

To be eligible to hold an award, the student must:

  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of their bachelor's degree;
  • have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately previous to holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university;
  • have not started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering; and 
  • be engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the tenure of the award.


  • NSERC USRA holders can take one course, with permission from their supervisor, in their USRA term
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University is not an eligible institution (we cannot recruit USRA students from KPU) 

NSERC USRA Process (for Students, Supervisors, and Departments)*

*Please note that this is a general overview and that there may be some department-specific steps (such as interviews) not mentioned in this list.

  • Interested eligible students should contact the proposed supervisor, department or program at Simon Fraser University in which they would like to hold a USRA (see the USRA contacts tab).
  • Students must submit to the department, by that department's deadline, the documentation required. In some cases this may include the NSERC Form 202 (Part I) and current transcripts.
  • Departments proceed in adjudicating, ranking, matching and/or approving the student to continue with the application process. 
  • For NSERC USRA's, students must create an NSERC Online Account and the application for an Undergraduate Student Research Award Form 202 Part I, using NSERC's Online system.
  • The department and/or student must email the selected supervisor to complete Form 202 Part II; the supervisor will need to know the applicant’s reference number to do so.
  • The supervisor starts their online Form 202 Part II; note that the supervisor does not have to submit their form online, but may wish to do so. 
  • Departments must submit a ranked list to GPS. The list must contain a ranked NSERC USRA Alist, a ranked VPR USRA Alist, and a ranked Blist. 
  • GPS will review the eligibility of all Alisted applicants and start offering NSERC USRA awards according to department rankings. Award Offer Letters and Award Acceptance Forms are typically sent via email in late February/early March with a two week acceptance deadline.
  • Students must return the Award Acceptance Form to GPS within the two week acceptance period. Signed, scanned acceptances can be returned via email to gpsaward@sfu.ca.
  • Apporoximately 1 month prior to the summer term, GPS will send all participating departments a list of that department's confirmed USRA students; departments must inform GPS of any additional changes/declines.
  • Students who have accepted a USRA must complete the personal data form and submit the completed form to their USRA department prior to their USRA start date.
  • The department must prepare/collect the personal data form and payroll appointment form (PAF), for the faculty portion of the award.
  • GPS will process the NSERC portion of the award via the student's SIMS account.
  • The department and/or supervisor must contact GPS regarding any leave or interruption to the USRA.

2020 Deadlines

  • By Departmental Deadline: Students must submit required documentation by the deadline published by the department.
  • By Departmental Deadline: Students must verify NSERC applications online; this includes uploading transcripts and having a supervisor start Form 202 Part II.
  • February 7, 2020: Departments must submit ranked lists to GPS, with VPR USRA applications (GPS can access NSERC USRA applications online).
  • By March 27, 2020: GPS will send each department an updated list of their USRA holders.
  • By  April 3, 2020: Departments need to send Payroll completed personal data  and payroll appointment forms.