Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to stimulate your interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields.


If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, these competitive awards can provide you with financial support.

Funding Available

$6,000 from NSERC, plus a minimum of $2,274.30 from the supervisor.

Project duration: A full 16-week period, full-time during the summer of 2021.

Student Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for an award, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada;
  • be registered, at the time of application, in a bachelor’s degree program at an eligible institution;
  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor’s degree; and
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, a CGPA of at least 9.00 (this is a competitive adjudication process).

In addition…

  • If you already hold a bachelor’s degree and are studying towards a second bachelor’s degree, you may still apply to this program.
  • You may hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31), and a maximum of three USRAs throughout your university career.

To hold an award, you must:

  • have been registered in the term immediately before holding the award in a bachelor’s degree program at Carleton University;
  • not have 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.

Who is not eligible?

  • Those currently enrolled in an undergraduate professional degree program in the health sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, BScN); or
  • Those who hold higher degrees in the natural sciences or engineering.

NSERC Eligible Programs for Supervisors

Holders of the following types of grants are eligible to supervise USRA holders for the 2021 competition. 

Grants Programs
  • Climate Change and Atmospheric Research
  • Discovery Grants (Individual, Group and Subatomic Physics (SAP) Project, Northern Research
  • Supplements, Frontiers, Accelerator Supplements, Ship Time)
  • G8 Research Councils Initiative on Multilateral Research Funding and Belmont Forum
  • CREATE (Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program)
  • Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering
  • NSERC John C. Polanyi Award
  • NSERC/NRCan/AECL Generation IV Energy Technologies Grants
Partnerships Programs
  • Automotive Partnership Canada (APC)
  • Strategic Network Grants (SNG)
  • Strategic Project Grants (SPG)
  • Chairs in Design Engineering (CDE)
  • Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) Grants
  • Engage Grants (EG)
  • Industrial Research Chairs (IRC)
  • Innovation Frontiers (IF)
  • Interaction Grants (IG)
  • Partnership Workshops Grants (PWG)
  • Idea to Innovation (I2I) Grants
Chairs and Faculty Support Programs
  • Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE)
  • Northern Research Chairs Program (NRCP)
Canada Excellence Research Chairs

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In accordance with the Tri-Agency EDI Action Plan, NSERC is acting on the evidence that equity, diversity and inclusion strengthen the scientific and engineering communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Increasing diversity and gender equity in the research enterprise are NSERC priorities. NSERC is in the process of integrating sex, gender and diversity considerations into its evaluation criteria. Our community will be informed of changes and effective dates in advance of application deadlines. Applicants should refer to pages 5 to 7 in the Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application for more information.

Inclusion of these factors is voluntary, in the interests of enhancing excellence in research, training, outreach and impact.

How to Apply

  • The Faculty of Engineering and Design has a total of 24 awards available for the 2021 competition.
  • Students apply through the Faculty where they request to hold their award (the supervisor’s Faculty, not necessarily the student’s).
  • Students from other universities may also apply. 

Application Package

  • Create an NSERC online portfolio
  • Create a Form 202 from the drop down menu, and follow the instructions
  • Students complete Form 202 Part I, and forward the reference number provided by the system to their potential supervisor(s) – this is required to link Parts I and II
  • Students upload a PDF of official transcripts
  • Supervisors complete Form 202 Part II
  • Students submit a PDF copy of your submission (Form 202 Parts I & II and official transcripts) by e-mail to

Student Deadline

Applicants must send a completed application package (detailed above) by e-mail to Tom Morrice at by Tuesday, February 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm (noon).

Please note that applications not delivered by the deadline will not be considered.

Award Decisions

Each Faculty will inform applicants of its award decisions after it has completed its selection process.

Payment of Awards

Successful candidates will receive payment from the University in accordance with its pay procedures. The University will also issue a T4 or T4A slip (Statement of Income) at the end of the calendar year. NSERC will pay its contribution directly to the University.

Monday, February 1, 2021 in ,
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