Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

At the

Undergraduate Student Research Awards

Canada’s three research granting agencies, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), acknowledge that the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may hinder your ability to access official and up-to-date versions of your transcripts in advance of the deadline date, particularly at institutions that do not currently provide official electronic versions of these documents. As such, for the 2023 review process, the granting agencies will not reject applications that include unofficial transcripts in lieu of official transcripts.

You should be aware of the following:

  • Electronic transcripts provided by an institution’s registrar’s office are considered by the granting agencies to be official transcripts. You should check with your institution(s) to verify whether this option is available to you prior to submitting an application.
  • While applications containing unofficial transcripts will be accepted, you should note that submission of an application will continue to serve as a formal attestation that you have provided true, complete, accurate information in the application and its related documents.
  • The granting agencies may contact administrative staff (liaison officers or equivalent) at your institution(s) to certify that the contents of submitted transcripts are true, complete and accurate.

Instructions for completing an application – form 202

General information

About the program

Read the Undergraduate Student Research Awards program description before you complete the application.

Refer to the frequently asked questions about USRAs for more information.

The application for this program (form 202) consists of two parts. You must complete Part I, and Part II must be completed by your proposed research supervisor.

Important: Form 202 must be submitted electronically.

Presentation standards

On each page of the online application, you will find instructions and tips on how to complete your application. Documents that have been password-protected cannot be read and, therefore, cannot be attached. Do not password-protect documents you plan to attach to your application.

Help with program information

  • Contact your institution’s USRA liaison officer (LO) if you have questions about the institution’s internal selection process or deadlines for the program.
  • Contact NSERC staff by email at usra-brpc@nserc-crsng.gc.ca for general information about the USRA program.

Help with the NSERC online system

Completing and submitting the application  Part I (to be completed by the applicant)

If you have previously applied for a USRA, you cannot create a new form 202. Instead, you must update Part I of the application previously submitted to your institution and upload new transcripts. Inform your LO of any changes you make to Part I.

  • Log in to the online system. The process will bring you to the eConsole page.
  • Select Forms — Student from the list under Forms management.
  • Select Form 202, Part I.
  • Complete the required modules.

Application profile

Selecting the appropriate agency

Select the agency (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC) whose mandate best aligns with your field of research (health, natural sciences and engineering, or social sciences and humanities). For further information, refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency and the Undergraduate Student Research Awards allocations web page.

You must ensure that you are submitting your application to an institution that has an allocation for your selected agency.

Note that at the present time, CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers.

Complete the required fields.

Personal profile

Personal identification number

For CIHR and SSHRC applicants: If you have not previously applied to NSERC, leave the field blank and a personal identification number (PIN) will be automatically assigned to you by the online system.

All NSERC applicants have received, or will receive, a PIN. If you have previously applied to NSERC and do not remember your PIN, contact the online services helpdesk. Once you have your PIN, return to the eConsole page, select Maintain user profile and enter your PIN. It will then appear on the Personal profile page of the application.

Refer to your PIN each time you apply for an award and in future correspondence with the agencies.

Collection of self-identification data

Equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI) strengthen research communities and the quality, social relevance and impact of research. Self-identification data provide information on the diversity of the population applying for and receiving agency funds. These data are important for monitoring the fairness of our programs and informing future measures to increase EDI among all those involved in the research enterprise. You are asked to complete two sets of self-identification questions prior to submitting your application: a self-identification questionnaire whose data are used for general statistical purposes, and a self-identification statement whose data are used to identify recipients for targeted undergraduate funding opportunities.

Self-identification questionnaire:

  • Self-identification data are collected as part of the application process and will be neither accessible to nor shared with external reviewers and/or selection committee members. You will not be able to submit your application if you have not completed the self-identification questionnaire. If you did not complete the questionnaire when you created your account, you can find it by returning to the eConsole page and selecting Maintain user profile under Account management.

Self-identification statement:

For NSERC:

  • Institutions are permitted to recommend an unlimited number of self-identified Indigenous* and Black student researchers to the USRA program, above their application quota. To be considered for this, Indigenous and Black student researchers must provide consent within the application form to share this information with their institutions and NSERC.

* “Indigenous Peoples” is a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants. “Aboriginal Peoples” is also often used as a synonym. For the purposes of this program, NSERC uses the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982 definition of Aboriginal Peoples as including the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada.

For CIHR and SSHRC:

  • At the present time, CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are exclusively for Black student researchers. To be eligible to apply for these awards, you are asked to disclose within the application form that you self-identify as Black and to confirm that you understand that this information will be shared with the institution to which you are applying and, if awarded, publicly. For further details on these awards, refer to the USRA program description and the Undergraduate Student Research Awards allocations web page.

Consent to sharing information (for NSERC only)

NSERC asks applicants if they consent to sharing information contained in the completed application, including personal information, with other funding organizations for the purpose of applying for joint funding opportunities. Declining to share information has no effect on the applicant’s success in obtaining an award. However, it may affect supplements that are administered as joint funding opportunities between NSERC and other organizations.

Addresses

If your current mailing address is temporary, indicate the leaving date. If your address changes after submitting your application, inform the agencies by sending an email to usra-brpc@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

Ensure that your email address is up to date, as the award letters are sent directly to the applicants by email.

Academic background

Include only current and past postsecondary programs. Do not include programs that you have not yet started. Provide the completion date for the proposed degree, if known.

Awards

Scholarships and other awards offered

List only competitive awards based on academic or research excellence and/or leadership or communication abilities. You can, for example, include awards from the three federal granting agencies, provincial or institution awards, and declined awards. This section can be left blank if you have had no awards. You may list up to four awards, starting with the most recent.

Transcripts (attachment)

Transcripts must be uploaded and saved into a single portable document format (PDF) file. They must also be scanned (black and white recommended) and, whenever possible, in portrait style. You must include one copy of the legend located on the back side of each transcript. Do not scan the legend multiple times.

Official, up-to-date transcripts for all university programs must be provided. You must obtain these documents from your registrar’s office. Transcripts such as those printed from the student’s account on the institution’s website are not official. In this context, official transcripts are those that show the name of the institution, the program in which you are enrolled, your complete course of study, your marks and the legend explaining acronyms, etc. We realize that transcripts provided directly to students are not official according to the definitions in use at Canadian institutions. Grade summaries that show only one term’s marks are not acceptable.

  • To be up to date, transcripts must show the term before the application was prepared—for example, if you applied to your institution’s USRA deadline in February, the transcript must show the previous September to December term’s marks.
  • First year students will be asked to provide updated transcripts that show they have successfully completed one year, or two academic terms, of study.
  • If you wish to hold an award at the institution at which you are enrolled, check with the LO at the institution; they may be able to help you obtain your transcript.
  • Transcripts that meet the criteria described above, and that have been provided to you by the LO, will be accepted for USRA applications even if they are labelled unofficial.
  • The federal granting agencies may require that official, original documents be provided after the completed application has been submitted.

Submitting Part I of the application

  • Once you have completed all of the modules, go to the Portfolio page and select Verify to ensure that all the required information has been entered.
  • Once the verification is complete, the online system will generate a reference number for Part I of form 202; provide this reference number to your proposed research supervisor.
  • The proposed research supervisor must enter this reference number on Part II of form 202 for the system to link the two parts together into a complete application.
  • Form 202 is then completed and submitted electronically by the proposed research supervisor.

Completing and submitting the application – Part II (to be completed by the proposed research supervisor)

  • Log in to the online system. The process will bring you to the eConsole page.
  • Select Forms — Researcher from the list under Forms management.
  • Select Form 202, Part II, and enter the applicant’s family name and reference number in the relevant fields. By entering the reference number from Part I on Part II of form 202, the system will link the two parts together to form a complete application.
  • Complete the required modules.

Project profile

The title of the proposed research project may be used for publication purposes. It should describe the subject of the research for which you are seeking support. It should not contain a company or trade name. Spell out scientific symbols and acronyms.

Select from the drop-down menu the research subject code that best describes the proposed area of research.

Enter the name and department of the institution that will administer the award.

Research supervisor profile

For CIHR and SSHRC supervisors: If you have not previously applied to NSERC, leave the field blank and a personal identification number (PIN) will be automatically assigned to you by the online system.

Research supervisors who have previously applied to NSERC have received an NSERC PIN from the former online system or a common personal identifier (CPI) from the research portal. The PIN or CPI is mandatory for research supervisors and can be found on all official correspondence from NSERC. If you do not remember your PIN or CPI, contact the online services helpdesk. Once you have it, return to the eConsole page, select Maintain user profile and enter your PIN or CPI. It will then appear on the Research supervisor profile page of the application.

Refer to your PIN or CPI each time you apply for an award and in future correspondence with the agencies.

Current employment

Enter your primary place of employment in section 1, and if applicable, in section 2 enter your position at a Canadian postsecondary institution if it is different from your primary place of employment.

Outline of proposed research

Provide a description of the proposed research project for the period during which the award will be held. The proposed research must be eligible for funding from the agency that you selected. For further information, refer to the This link will take you to another Web site Selecting the appropriate federal granting agency web page. Briefly specify the student’s role. Incorporating diversity considerations, including but not limited to sex (biological), gender (sociocultural), race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, geographic location, among other factors in your research design can make it more ethically sound, rigorous and useful. You are asked to reflect on how these factors could be incorporated into your research design, methods, analysis and interpretation, and/or dissemination of findings. Where relevant, their inclusion can strengthen your proposal and will be taken into consideration by the selection committee during review.

The three federal granting agencies acknowledge that diversity considerations may not be applicable in the context of some research projects, but nonetheless encourages you to fully consider their relevance, as they apply to more areas than one might think. Generally, research that involves or impacts human subjects, organisms capable of differentiation, or their tissues or cells can benefit from such considerations. It is important to thoroughly reflect on the type of data collected and who might be impacted by the research findings before concluding that diversity considerations are not relevant. For more information consult the NSERC guide on integrating equity, diversity and inclusion considerations in research.

Outline of the student’s role

Briefly describe the student’s role in the research.

Expected quality of the training and mentorship to be received

Briefly describe the training environment to be provided to the student.  

Submitting Part II of the application

  • Once you have completed all of the modules, go to the Portfolio page and select Verify to ensure that all the required information has been entered.
  • Once the verification is complete, the status of the application will be changed to Completed; you should not make any changes to this form once it is completed.
  • You (the proposed research supervisor) must then submit the form to the LO at the institution by selecting Submit to LO (note that this submission also includes Part I completed by the applicant).
  • If you need to update any information on your form 202 after it’s been submitted, contact your LO.

Intellectual property policy

Note that NSERC’s, CIHR’s and SSHRC’s intellectual property policies do not apply to USRAs. Refer to your institution’s intellectual property regulations in effect for USRAs.

Signatures

Original signatures are not required on applications or other documents submitted electronically through NSERC’s online system. The electronic submission of applications through this system represents approval and replaces the traditional "physical" or "wet" signatures.

What do the electronic or original signatures on the application mean?

Before you provide the reference number assigned to your application to your proposed research supervisor, you must read and agree to the terms and conditions of applying that appear in a pop-up window during the submission process. It is your responsibility to retain a copy of the agreed terms and conditions for your records.

The signatures of the institutional authorities certify that:

The institution will abide by the roles and responsibilities as set out in the This link will take you to another Web site Agreement on the Administration of Agency Grants and Awards by Research Institutions with the three federal granting agencies, including the This link will take you to another Web site Tri-agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

List for a complete application

Use the following list to make sure your application is complete.

  • Form 202, Part I (to be completed by the applicant)
    • Application profile
    • Personal profile
    • Addresses
    • Academic background
    • Awards
    • Transcripts (attachment)
  • Form 202, Part II (to be completed by the proposed research supervisor and submitted electronically)
    • Project profile
    • Research supervisor profile
    • Current employment
    • Outline of proposed research
    • Outline of the student’s role
    • Expected quality of the training and mentorship to be received