NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA)


USRA's 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. If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host institution. NSERC encourages qualified Indigenous students to apply for this award.

Adjudication of these awards occur within individual departments. Departments are provided with an allocation of USRA scholarships and selected applications are submitted to NSERC by University Research Services. 

To apply for this award, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada as of the deadline date for applications at the institution
  • be registered, as of the deadline date for applications at the institution, in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible institution
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a second class cumulative average (normally a B-; check with your institution)
  • complete and submit your application using NSERC’s On-line System . Applications must be completed and submitted to the relevant department. 

USRA award recipients are expected to work full time (35 hours per week) for 16 consecutive weeks (May 1-August 31).

Important updates

NSERC has increased the value of the award from $4,500 to $6,000. The supervisor and/or department must still contribute a minimum of 25% to the award value.

Continuation of accommodations due to COVID-19: 
In light of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC will be continuing the following accommodations for the 2021/22 competition cycle:  

  • Remote supervision of projects will be permitted. Supervisors must hold regular meetings with USRA holders via phone or video calls
  • While it is encouraged that the work term remains 16 weeks long to receive the full benefit of the program (May 1 to August 31), accommodation can be made if this cannot be met
  • NSERC will honour the full value of the award regardless of the length of the work term. A minimum supplement from the supervisor and/or department of at least 25% of the value of the award is still required

Should local public health recommendations allow, the preference is for USRAs to be held in person, but remote supervision will be allowed without additional justification to NSERC. Should the project allow, students who prefer to work remotely should not be penalized.


Internal departmental deadlines are set by each department then forwarded to University Research Services by Monday, March 8, 2021

Undergraduate Student Research Awards Website

View NSERC USRA Website



Research Services USRA FAQs

View Research Services USRA FAQs


Please contact your home department and/or the department of the faculty member you wish to work with for information regarding the process and internal application dates.

Traci Allen
Research Program Coordinator
​University Research Services

Email:  allent@queensu.ca
Phone: 613-533-6000 ext.79399