NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Each year the University of Waterloo is awarded a specific number of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Awards. These fellowships enable undergraduate students to spend a term (Summer, Fall, or Winter) doing research in world-class laboratories supervised by experts in their field. Undergraduate students from other Canadian universities are especially invited to apply.

  • If students are interested in being considered for this competition, they will need to complete the NSERC application process with their supervisor by the deadline dates and have the potential supervisor notify Julie Shikaze.
  • Students applying for the Spring term are requested to submit to Julie Shikaze (C2-280) a resume and a letter to describe their research interests, career goals, why they want to work with the particular supervisor and their research experience by the deadline date. Students are ranked within the Chemistry Department to receive the award as there are a limited number of awards provided by NSERC.
  • The competition for the Fall and Winter terms is dependent on whether additional awards are made available by NSERC. If students are nominated for the award, they will be placed on the Science Faculty reserve list and there is no guarantee that they will be awarded the USRA. 
  • Notifications for the Fall and Winter term awards are made into the first few weeks of that term.  If supervisors cannot guarantee a position, students should continue to seek other positions and inform both their supervisor and Julie Shikaze to remove their name from the reserve list if one is found.


Spring 2019:  January 28, 2019


  • The University of Waterloo requires students to have a minimum cumulative average of 72%.
  • Students in 1B can hold the award as long as they had a 72% or higher average in their 1A term and at the time of holding their award they will have completed at least 2 terms of full time study.
  • Students applying for a USRA must be registered full-time in a bachelor’s degree program at the time of the application. Students can hold the award in the term immediately after their 4B term.
  • International students are not eligible.
  • Students may hold only one award per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) and can hold only three awards throughout their undergraduate career.
  • Students and supervisors must also meet all other eligibility requirements. A program guide and overview showing NSERC eligibility criteria of this award are available at the NSERC website.

Once students establish that they are eligible, they should search for a chemistry professor whose research matches their interests.

The student and supervisor will put together a research project which will be included in the supervisor’s portion of the application. These awards are distributed to the applicants in decreasing order of merit.

Application procedure

  • Students must login or register as a new user on the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) website and attach an unofficial transcript. External applicants will be required to provide a sealed official transcript from their academic institution to the department by the deadline date.
  • Once students have completed and verified their Form 202 Part 1, they will be issued a reference number. Students must provide this reference number to their Chemistry supervisor.
  • Supervisors must login to the NSERC USRA website and enter the reference number which the student has provided for them. Once supervisors have verified and submitted Form 202 Part 2, the application will appear to the Liaison Office Assistant in the online portal.
  • Students who apply for the Spring term are asked to submit to Julie Shikaze a resume and a letter to describe their research interests, career goals, why they want to work with the particular supervisor and their research experience by the deadline date.

Additional information about the NSERC USRA program can be found on the University of Waterloo Office of Research website.

Note:  It is the responsibility of the co-op student to inform the co-operative education centre in a timely manner about their intention to hold a USRA rather than seeking employment through co-op.