Undergraduate Student Research Awards

VPR Sciences Undergraduate Student Research Awards

SFU's Vice-President Research has provided funding for an award program entitled “Vice-President, Research Undergraduate Student Research Awards” (VPR USRA) for current SFU undergraduate students interested in working on a major research project with an eligible university professor. 

Students must be engaged on a full time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences and engineering during the minimum 16 week tenure of the award. Students are not permitted to take any class or course in the term when they are holding this award.


* VPR USRA application.pdf
Submit the application to DGS.
Eligibility Criteria

Students who do not meet the eligibility criteria for an NSERC USRA may be eligible for a VPR USRA Science. VPR USRA awards are available to students who are international students and/or who wish to work with a faculty member who holds a major grant, but not necessarily from NSERC.

Note that VPR USRA Sciences applicants must:

  • be an SFU undergraduate student;
  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study;
  • have been registered and enrolled in courses in the term immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at SFU (the only exception to this is students holding a USRA in the Fall 2015 term do not have to be registered in the preceding summer; however, a student graduating in the Spring term is NOT eligible to hold the award in the Fall term);
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a cumulative average of at least 2.67;
  • have held 2 or fewer USRAs (including NSERC USRAs) in the past; and,
  • not have started a program of graduate studies.

Value and Duration
The VPR USRA salary is derived from two sources: the VPR scholarship portion and the faculty supplement. The VPR value of each award is $4,500 paid over the minimum 16-week period. Simon Fraser University requires that all students holding USRAs receive an additional minimum supplement at the departmental level of at least $1,576 (over the 16-week period). We emphasize that this mandatory supplement is a minimum value; any supplement above this level may be set at the department’s discretion.

VPR USRA Regular Competition Process (for Students, Supervisors and Departments)
Students who are eligible for an NSERC USRA must apply to that program; NSERC USRA applicants who are not offered an award will automatically be considered for a VPR USRA Sciences. Students can only apply to one program per competition year.

  • Departments and students should review the eligibility criteria as outlined above.
  • Interested students should contact the proposed supervisor or department at Simon Fraser University in which they would like to hold the award.
  • Students complete the application form, print it and attach an up to date unofficial transcripts (not an advising transcript). This must be submitted to the department by the deadline date published by that department.
  • The department completes their supervisor match, rankings and adjudications. The department must notify applicants of the decision of this initial adjudication process.
  • Selected Supervisors must complete their section of the form.
  • Departments must add the VPR USRA applicants to their NSERC USRA memo, identifying them as VPR USRA and ranking them among the NSERC USRA B listed applicants.
  • Departments should submit the application forms and their memo to DGS, c/o SFU Graduate Awards by deadline February 9, 2017. The list should contain a ranked A list equal to the department’s NSERC USRA quota and aranked B list, including the VPR USRA applicants.
  • DGS will review the eligibility of all applicants and start offering awards according to department rankings and quotas. Award Offer Letters and Award Acceptance Forms will be sent via email throughout March and April with a two week acceptance deadline.  
  • Students must complete the Award Acceptance Form and submit it to DGS within the two week acceptance period. Signed, scanned forms can be returned to DGS via email to dgsaward@sfu.ca
  • Students who have accepted an award must also complete the Personal Data Form and submit it to their Departmental Manager one month prior to their USRA start date.
  • The department manager must send the personal data form (from Human Resources/Payroll) and completed payroll appointment form (PAF), for the faculty portion of the award, to Payroll at least three weeks prior to the USRA start date. A copy of the department’s FPP4 must be sent to DGS at the same time. (See also: Guide to completing the PAF.) Note that the type of USRA must be indicated on the form (NSERC vs VPR).Once DGS receives the copy of the FPP4, we will approve the file and process the VPR portion of the award via the student's SIMS account.
  • The department and/or supervisor must contact DGS regarding any leave or interruption to the USRA.

Here are some of the departmental contacts for these awards. Please note that there may be additional depts where a VPR USRA Sciences can be held; contact dgsawards@sfu.ca for more information.

Dept Contact Email Address Dept USRA Process
ARCH Merrill Farmer / Chris Papainni  arch-grad-secretary@sfu.ca or papaiann@sfu.ca PAF's by Merrill Farmer (gpcarch@sfu.ca) or Chris Papainni (papaiann@sfu.ca)
BISC Debbie Sandher biscugra@sfu.ca
PAF's by biscfina@sfu.ca
BPK Darleen Bemister / Tyler Schwartz
bemister@sfu.ca or
PAF's by Maggie (myeung@sfu.ca)
CHEM   spurdon@sfu.ca PAF's by chemmgr@sfu.ca
CMPT   csgrada@sfu.ca PAF's by csfinc@sfu.ca
EASC Tarja Vaisanen tvaisane@sfu.ca  
ECON   econ-grad-sec@sfu.ca  
ENSC Margaret Crandell enscugra@sfu.ca http://www.sfu.ca/engineering/current-students/undergraduate-students/student-research-and-design/student-research-awards.html
GEOG Anke Baker
HSCI Arlette Stewart fhs_advising@sfu.ca
LING Rita Parmar parmar@sfu.ca  
MATH JoAnne Hennessey mcs@sfu.ca  
MBB Mimi Fourie mbb@sfu.ca PAF's by mbbmas@sfu.ca
MSE Carol Jang mseupa@sfu.ca  
PHIL   philsec@sfu.ca  
PHYS Andrei Frolov frolov@sfu.ca http://www.sfu.ca/physics/ugrad/usra/projects.html
PSYC Beverley Davino / Dr. Ralph Mistlberger davino@sfu.ca / mistlber@sfu.ca  
REM Iris Schischmanow no placement service: students are to contact potential supervisors  
SIAT   siatgrad-office@sfu.ca  
STAT Tim Swartz/Gary Parker stat-grad-chair@sfu.ca