NSERC USRA Summer 2019 Competition Call

Thu. Jan. 10, 2019

The NSERC USRA Committee is happy to announce the NSERC USRA Summer 2019 competition.  The application deadline for students to submit their applications via email to their department representative, is Monday, February 11, 2019.  The results of the competition will be announced to students and supervisors before March 25, 2019. 

The application form for students and supervisors can be found on the NSERC website (  Students are also asked to submit a 250-500 word statement and an unofficial transcript. The guidelines for this competition are attached, as well as being posted on the Research Office website and in this email.  A poster which can be used to advertise within your department areas is also attached.  Please advertise this opportunity to your students as it is a great research experience for them. 

Any questions regarding the competition can be directed to either Jennifer Cleary, Craig Willis (UWinnipeg NSERC Representative), or the department representatives.

NSERC USRA Guidelines – Deadline Monday, February 11, 2019

Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are intended to stimulate student interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering,  encourage students to undertake graduate studies, and encourage students to consider a research career in natural sciences and engineering. Applications are evaluated based on the students’ academic record and evidence of an aptitude for research.

A. To be eligible, a student must:
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • Have a minimum B average (3.0 GPA);
  • Have completed a minimum of 30 credit hours at the time of application;
  • Be registered full-time (min. 18 credit hours in 2018-19 academic year) and attend school in at least 1 of the 2 terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible university;
  • Submit a transcript including Fall 2018 grades. Transcripts printed from WebAdvisor are acceptable for the internal competition. An official transcript will be required for successful applicants;
  • Identify a primary supervisor to guide their research project (must hold NSERC funding). For further information on when it is necessary to name an alternative supervisor, please see point E below;
  • Receive research training for a full 16 weeks, normally from May 1 – August 31. Students and their supervisors are to devise a plan that is suitable for the research project;
  • Provide a 250-500 word statement demonstrating evidence of research aptitude/potential. The statement should include:
    • A brief outline of the proposed project to complement the project description provided by the supervisor;
    •  How the NSERC USRA will benefit their career/future and an idea of their career plans;
    • For students that previously held a NSERC USRA,  a clear description of  their role in the previous project, and the theory or concepts and skills that they learned
    • For students who have not held NSERC USRA but have participated in research (e.g., as a research assistant), a clear description of their role in these projects.
    • Any past progress, if applicable, toward formal research contributions (e.g., a presentation, publication or other research contribution).
    • Any other relevant experience or achievements that would demonstrate research interest, aptitude and/or potential to the evaluation committee.

B. The NSERC USRA is designed to help students make decisions about their future in research and a diverse training background is an asset for this process. Therefore, for those applying for a second, or especially a third USRA, preference will be given to students working with a different supervisor

C. As per NSERC regulations, a student may hold no more than three NSERC USRAs throughout their academic career. To ensure opportunities for as many excellent students as possible, at the University of Winnipeg preference will be given to students applying for their first or second USRA.  
D. Applications from students registered at other universities will be accepted but, all else being equal, preference will be given to current University of Winnipeg students.
E. The faculty supervisor must hold an NSERC research grant (PI or Co-applicant) as of May 1, 2019.
For supervisors who do not currently hold a NSERC grant but have an application pending, a letter from an alternate supervisor (NSERC funded) is required stating that they are willing to supervise and fund the student should your application not be awarded a grant.
For supervisors who are in the final year of their grant, if you have sufficient funds remaining in your account to support a USRA which can be transferred to an automatic extension year, no alternate supervisor is required. If you are in your automatic extension year, or will have insufficient funds to support a USRA at the end of your grant term, a letter from an alternate supervisor (NSERC funded) is required stating that they are willing to supervise and fund the student should your renewal not be awarded a grant.
F. Salary: $4500 is provided by NSERC, and a minimum 25% of the NSERC portion ($1125) is provided by the faculty supervisor. As the USRAs are prestigious awards, we strongly encourage funding above this amount. Faculty members can apply for internal funding to help supplement salaries.
G. Students who receive the NSERC USRA are encouraged to present their research at institutional workshops, poster competitions, and conferences. They will also be invited to a special awards luncheon in their honour.
H. To apply, applicants should first approach, and discuss a possible project with, a potential supervisor. Once a potential supervisor agrees, they should register and login via NSERC’s online system. Students and supervisors must follow the instructions on the NSERC website to complete Form 202 Part I (i.e., student) and Part II (supervisor). Electronic copies of both parts of Form 202, an unofficial transcript, and the 250 – 500 word statement, should be emailed to the NSERC Department Representative of the supervisor’s department (see list below) before 5:00PM on February 11, 2019.

Please Note: NSERC reviews the university USRA submissions during June and July, well after the student has begun the summer research project. The committee will do their outmost to ensure that only students meeting NSERC’s eligibility requirements are put forward. In the rare case where NSERC deems a student to be ineligible to participate in the NSERC USRA program, the Research Office and faculty supervisor will work together resolve the issue.  

NSERC and The University of Winnipeg strongly encourage eligible Indigenous students to apply