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.

The VPR USRA is derived from two sources: the VPR award portion and the faculty supplement:
  • The VPR award portion is $4,500
  • The faculty supplement is valued at a minimum $2,584 + 8% (for statutory benefits)
  • Note that after June 1, 2019, the faculty supplement is valued at a minimum $3,256 + 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

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 international students, while NSERC USRA's are not. VPR USRA's are available to faculty members who hold 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 in at least one of the two terms of a Bachelor's degree immediately before holding the award;
  • 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.

VPR 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 on this list. 

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.

  • Interested and eligible students should contact the proposed supervisor, department or program at Simon Fraser University in which they would like to hold the USRA (see the USRA contacts tab).
  • Students who are eligible for an NSERC USRA must complete the NSERC online application form; students who are ONLY eligible for a VPR USRA must complete the form on this page, 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, adjudications and rankings. 
  • Departments must submit ranked lists to GPS; the lists must contain a ranked NSERC USRA Alist, a ranked VPR USRA Alist and a ranked Blist. 
  • GPS will review the eligibility of all Alist 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.
  • 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.
  • Students who have accepted an award must also complete the Personal Data Form and submit it to their USRA Department.
  • Approximately 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. 
  • The department manager must prepare/collect the personal data form and payroll appointment form (PAF), for the faculty portion of the award. 
  • GPS will process the VPR award 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.

International Students/Students with Study Permits 

  • Prior to accepting the USRA, international students are advised to check with an International Student Advisor at intl_advising@sfu.ca to confirm their work eligibility.

2019 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, 2019: Departments must submit ranked lists to GPS, with VPR USRA applications (GPS can access NSERC USRA applications online).
  • By March 30, 2019: GPS will send each department an updated list of their USRA holders.
  • By  April 6, 2019: Departments need to send Payroll completed personal data  and payroll appointment forms