NSERC Undergraduate Research Awards (USRA) competition 2021-22

Update Dec 4, 2020:

NSERC recently announced that for the NSERC – USRA competition effective summer 2021 (May 1, 2021) the award value has increased.  The NSERC portion of the award will be increased from $4,500 to $6,000. The 25 per cent minimum contribution from the university will still be in effect, meaning that the contribution from faculty has risen to $1500. The award will have a minimum value of $7,500 for the student. 

Applications are invited from eligible undergraduate students for the 2021-22 NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) program. Information is available from NSERC's website

Awards may be held in one of the following terms: Summer term 2021, Fall term 2021, or Winter term 2022.

The University of Windsor quota of awards has not been released yet, but we expect that information soon.  Last year our quota was 32.

The value of the scholarship for 2020-2021 is $4,500.00 for 16 weeks.

NSERC requires that all students holding USRAs receive supplementary assistance from University sources of at least 25% of the value of the award, that is, of at least $1,125.00.  This mandatory supplement is a minimum  value; any supplement above this level may be set at the University’s discretion.  Research supervisors or programs should therefore indicate clearly what they are prepared to contribute.

NSERC would also like to encourage Indigenous undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies and research careers in the natural sciences and engineering.  Each university is strongly encouraged to promote the availability of USRAs to qualified Indigenous students.  Awards that the University of Windsor makes to Indigenous students will be in addition to our quota of awards.

A student applying for an award must be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident, and be registered in a bachelor’s degree program at an eligible university.  Students must have obtained a cumulative GPA of at least 70% up to the time of application.  Students may not hold more than three USRAs in their academic career or more than one award in any fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).

Note the following restrictions:

  • Students must be supervised by a faculty member holding an active NSERC research grant either at the time the student submits the application, or at the time the student takes up the award.
  • Students should not receive academic credits for the work done during the term of a USRA. Therefore, holders of these awards are not generally permitted to take courses during working hours throughout the term of their award.  Students may take one course if special arrangements to make up the time under supervision have been made with the supervisor. In particular, USRA holders are not permitted to do thesis research during the term of the award.


Students/supervisors are required to submit their application on-line through NSERC’s on-line portal no later than Friday, January 29, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. 

Students are not required to submit a paper copy to the department.

The Graduate Studies office will send electronic copies of the submitted applications to each department, as soon as possible after the deadline, for review and ranking.

The deadline for departments to submit their ranking sheets (using the template) to the Office of Graduate Studies for students wishing to hold an award in either Summer term 2021, Fall term 2021, or Winter term 2022 is Monday, February 22, 2021.

Detailed instructions and the electronic application forms are available from the NSERC website.

All applications must be completed, verified and submitted on-line through the NSERC on-line portal by Friday, January 29, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

1.  Instructions for students:

  • Complete Form 202 Part I (Student Application for a USRA): Students can create only one Part 1 of Form 202. If they applied last year, they must update that form for use this year.
  • Register or log onto the NSERC on-line system and select Form 202 Part I under the heading For Students and Fellows
  • Complete all the modules shown on the left hand side of the screen, and then verify the form on the My Portfolio screen until the report shows it is complete
  • Forward the reference number provided by the system to potential supervisor(s)
  • Upload PDF copies of all official transcripts.  If students cannot obtain official transcripts because of COVID 19 they may upload unofficial transcripts.

2.  Instructions for supervisors

Complete Part II of Form 202

• Log onto the on-line site with the same password and username used to apply for an NSERC grant

• If the password has been forgotten, supervisors can contact NSERC's On-line Services: webapp@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

• Select Form 202 Part II under the heading Forms-Researcher

• Enter the reference number for each student with whom they wish to work, and complete all the modules necessary to create a Part II for each student

• Verify each form using the button on the My Portfolio screen until report states it is complete

• Push the Submit to LO button to complete the application

• If the supervisor does not verify the application, the “Submit to LO” button does not appear

The deadline to submit the application through the NSERC on-line portal is Friday, January 29, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

3. Instructions for departments

• Receive the electronic copies of the applications from the Faculty of Graduate Studies after the submission deadline of January 29, 2021

• Use the attached ranking sheet and email the ranked lists to gradaward@uwindsor.ca by the deadline of Monday, February 22, 2021

If you require further information, please contact us (gradaward@uwindsor.ca)