NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has created the Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to gain experience in research by working full-time for a term with a faculty member in their area of interest. This award would be of particular interest to students who are considering a career in research and who may wish to continue their studies at the graduate level.

The application deadlines are as follows:

  • Spring term: February 16th
  • Fall term: July 31st
  • Winter term: October 31st

Award availability

NSERC has generally provided the University of Waterloo with a number of USRAs to award in the Spring term. The USRA award availability for the Fall and Winter terms is dependent on whether additional awards are made available by NSERC.

Students who apply and are nominated for the USRA in the Fall and Winter terms may not receive notification of the receipt of the award until close to the start of the term. Students whose supervisor cannot guarantee a position without the USRA may wish to continue to seek alternate options.

Application instructions

Please research faculty members to contact as potential supervisors in the Department of Chemistry. Once a student has confirmed a position with a supervisor, they must submit the Form 202 on the NSERC website, along with the supervisor, by the application date.

Students will be required to submit an unofficial transcript from Quest or their home institution for Part 1 of the Form 202 application, and will provide the reference number issued by NSERC to their supervisor who will complete Part 2 of the application. Students from other universities will be required to provide an official transcript from their home institution if nominated for the USRA.

Additional instructions for Spring term applications only: Students must provide by the deadline date a resume and a letter addressed to the NSERC USRA Committee describing their research interests and experience, career goals, and the reasons they would like to work with their chosen supervisor. Please submit the letter and resume to the Undergraduate Coordinator for Chemistry, Julie Shikaze.


Students must be registered in a full-time undergraduate degree program at the time of application and must be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident. The minimum average required for consideration for the award is 75 percent, but please note that there are a limited number of awards available each term and students are ranked for the award based on merit.

Additional details regarding the USRA and eligibility requirements can be found on the NSERC website.

Please contact Julie Shikaze if you have any questions about the NSERC USRA.

Co-op students: Please note that it is your responsibility to inform Co-operative Education by the required deadline about your intention to hold a USRA rather than seeking employment through Co-op.