NSERC, CIHR & SSHRC Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA) 2024

Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs) are meant to nurture your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in health, natural sciences, engineering, social sciences or humanities. These awards are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies by providing research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting.

The duration of the USRA award is 14 to 16 weeks on a full-time basis.

The Tri-Agency provides a stipend of $6,000 per award. This must be supplemented by the Western USRA supervisor.

The selection process is done by the institution based on the following three criteria:

  1. Academic record;
  2. Research aptitude; and
  3. Expected quality of the training to be received.

Tri-agency support for underrepresented groups: Black student researchers funding

  • Via a “pilot” initiative to support targeted scholarships and fellowships for promising Black students USRA program is supporting additional NSERC USRAs,  CIHR USRAs, and SSHRC USRAs.
  • CIHR and SSHRC USRAs in 2024 are exclusively for Black student researchers with a research-eligible supervisor in any Western Faculty.
  • Western has been allocated 2 CIHR USRAs and 2 SSHRC USRAs for 2024
  • All Faculties will be invited to submit their top two candidates each for the CIHR USRA and SSHRC USRA awards
  • Final selection will be determined centrally via a lottery process.
  • NSERC USRAs for Indigenous and Black student researchers will not count towards Western’s allocation. Students will be asked to self-identify in the NSERC portal. 


NSERC requires that students be registered in a Bachelor’s degree program at an eligible university in at least one of the 2 terms immediately previous to the award. Therefore, undergraduate students who wish to hold an NSERC USRA in the Summer of 2024 must have been registered students in either Fall 2023 or Winter 2024, or both. Please visit the NSERC USRA overview page (see link below under "Resources") for details on student eligibility.

Indigenous and Black student scholars applicants

Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous and Black student researchers, (who meet NSERC’s USRA requirements) to the competition beyond the award quota NSERC provides.


At the present time, CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers. To be eligible to apply for these awards, applicants are asked to disclose within the application form that they self-identify as Black and to confirm that they understand that this information will be shared with the institution to which they are applying and, if awarded, publicly.


Effective 2020, USRA supervisors no longer need to hold NSERC funding. They just need to be authorized by Western to independently supervise students.


A Western student can upload: 
  1. an official transcript (optional), or
  2. a copy of the most current ‘Academic Record’, accurate to Dec. 31, 2023

Western students must request the Academic Record from their Faculty/department; they cannot access it themselves. NSERC provides more details on transcripts in “Instructions for completing an application – Form 202”.

(N.B. you can't access the Academic Record on your own; transcripts such as those printed from a student's account do not meet NSERC's requirements as there is insufficient identifying information.)

None Western students: If you are undertaking a USRA at Western but your home university is different, you must attach an official transcript from your home university to your online application, including the legend.


  • Every student must be working under the supervision of a research-eligible faculty member who can oversee the project and obtain applicable certification approvals. Supervisors can hold grants from NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC, provided the research proposed for the USRA project falls within the selected agency’s mandate.
  • Faculty supervisors are responsible for communicating clear expectations and guidance on the research project, including required training, anticipated outcomes, and outlining hours per week. 


  • Deadline to apply for a Summer 2024 USRA at Western University (Form 202s Part I and II submitted online): February – March 2024.
  • Check with the faculty where you want to hold the award as earlier internal faculty/department deadlines may be in place.
  • For CIHR and SSHRC:
    • With only two allocations for a CIHR USRA and two allocations for a SSHRC USRA reserved for Black student researchers, it has been decided that the final decision for these spots will be determined by a central lottery.
    • This process will likely change as the program evolves.
      After an internal adjudication process, each Faculty is invited to submit up to two of their top candidates for CIHR and SSHRC to Western Research.
    • A decision on the successful candidates will be communicated with Faculties in March. Please note that participating Faculties will only be permitted to hold one of these allocations.

Forms & Guidelines

All vetted applications must be finalized and submitted by April 1, 2024 using NSERC’s Online System. For reference, Form 202 and its instructions are available as PDF documents at: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Students-Etudiants/UG-PC/USRA-BRPC_eng.asp

Regardless of the granting agency, students must create their application using the NSERC online system and must select the agency whose mandate aligns best with their field of research (NSERC - natural sciences and engineering, CIHR - health, SSHRC - social sciences and humanities).

We encourage each Faculty to have their student/supervisor applicants utilize the NSERC Online System as part of their application process. USRA administrators can be given access to the NSERC Online System to review, comment and return online applications to applicants. Please contact usra_info@groups.uwo.ca for access and assistance.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

NSERC is acting on the evidence that achieving a more equitable, diverse and inclusive Canadian research enterprise is essential to creating the excellent, innovative and impactful research necessary to advance knowledge and understanding, and to respond to local, national and global challenges. This principle informs the commitments described in the Tri-agency statement on equity, diversity and inclusion.

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 the following for more information:

Guide for Applicants: Considering equity, diversity and inclusion in your application


Faculty Contacts

For faculty-specific information, please contact the individuals/offices below:

General USRA Program Contact

For general USRA program information, please contact usra_info@groups.uwo.ca.