The following information is for the Summer 2017 competition.

NSERC requires that all applications be created using their on-line system (i.e. Form 202 - Parts I and II + PDF file of student's official transcript). It is therefore important that students obtain their official transcript as soon as possible in order to complete Part I of the on-line application.

Because transcripts need to be scanned as part of NSERC's on-line system, students will be allowed to hand in their official transcript in an unsealed envelope when submitting the hard copy of their complete application.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada - Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to stimulate your interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields. If you would like to gain research work experience in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support during the Summer 2017 period. NSERC encourages qualified Aboriginal students to apply to this program.

Applicants must apply through their proposed supervisor's primary department (e.g. a Physiology student applying with a Biochemistry supervisor must apply through the department of Biochemistry).

Please note that the departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Physiology are part of the Faculty of Medicine (not the Faculty of Science).

Application deadline

The application deadline for the Faculty of Medicine is 4:00 PM on Thursday, February 9, 2017. A hard copy of the complete application (no staples, paper clip only) must be handed in to the appropriate NSERC USRA coordinator.

Duration of award

An award involves 16 consecutive weeks of full-time research work conducted between May and August 2017 (exact working schedule to be discussed/agreed upon by student and proposed supervisor).

Chosen start/end dates for the project can be May 1 to August 18 or May 8 to August 25.

The 16 weeks of research should not be interrupted (e.g. by vacation time and/or sick leave).

Value of award

An award consists of $4,500 from NSERC + a minimum contribution of $1,125 (25%) from the proposed supervisor.

Travel allowance

Non-McGill award recipients may request an expense reimbursement for their travel to/from Montreal. For more details, please see the "Travel Allowances" section on NSERC's website as well as the "Required Documents" section on McGill's GPSO website.

Student eligibility

The competition is open to McGill as well as non-McGill students.

In order to apply, students must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. As well, they must be currently registered in a bachelor's degree program in the natural sciences or engineering (without holding higher degrees in these fields).

Undergraduate students currently enrolled in health professional programs such as Medicine (including Med-P), Nursing and Physical/Occupational Therapy are not eligible to apply.

Students may hold a maximum of 3 USRAs throughout their university career.

Students may not concurrently hold more than 1 USRA (e.g. NSERC USRA + FRSQ USRA).

For more details, please refer to the student eligibility information on NSERC's website.

Supervisor eligibility

At the time of application, the proposed supervisor's NSERC research grant must be active (not pending approval). The proposed supervisor may be the principal investigator or the co-investigator of the grant.

Faculty members who received an extension to use up funds from a research grant that terminated on March 31, 2016 (where the extension is active from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017), will be eligible to supervise a USRA student in the Summer 2017 term.

Supervisors must not be on leave during any part of the proposed 16 week project.

Students must apply through the primary department of their proposed supervisor.

Here is a listing of the different types of eligible NSERC research grants: PDF icon NSERC Grants - Summer 2017

Here is a listing of eligible supervisors within the Faculty of Medicine: File NSERC Supervisors - Summer 2017

Students are responsible for contacting researchers of interest directly:



Selection criteria for the Faculty of Medicine

Due to the limited number of awards allocated to the Faculty of Medicine, the following conditions will apply:

  • Only 1 application per student will be considered
  • Only 1 application per proposed supervisor will be considered
  • Applicant must have a CGPA of 3.60 or higher (using 4.00 scale)
  • Preference will be given to U2 and U3 applicants (i.e. students with at least 36 credits completed, excluding freshman year)
  • Personal statement from student will be considered

Hard copy of complete application

Once the proposed supervisor has made the required electronic submission to NSERC (i.e. Form 202 - Parts I and II + PDF file of student's official transcript), the Faculty of Medicine requires the student to submit 1 hard copy of the following documents to the appropriate NSERC USRA coordinator. 

Please note that the personal statement from student, NSERC USRA Application Checklist as well as the Undergraduate Research Trainee Registration Form are required by McGill however they are not part of the electronic submission to NSERC.

  • Form 202 - Part I (completed by student)
  • Form 202 - Part II (completed by proposed supervisor)
  • Up-to-date official transcript from home university (transcript submitted in an unsealed envelope will be accepted; in the case where courses were taken at another university, an official transcript from this host university must also be submitted)
  • Brief personal statement from student summarizing future academic goals as well as any prior research experience (not more than 10-15 lines in Word format)
  • NSERC USRA Application Checklist (see "Required Documents"; only student and supervisor sections must be checked)
  • For non-McGill students only: Undergraduate Research Trainee Registration Form

Please see information below for where to submit the required hard copy.

NSERC's on-line system

NSERC's on-line system must be used to make the required electronic submission of Form 202 - Parts I and II as well as a PDF file of the student's official transcript.

NSERC's Form 202 consists of Parts I and II. Part I must be completed by the student and Part II must be completed by the proposed supervisor.

Before creating an application using NSERC's on-line system, students and proposed supervisors should review the application instructions on NSERC's website as well as the "Important Application Details" available directly below.

Students and proposed supervisors will need to access NSERC's On-line System Login (first-time users must register beforehand).

A reference number will be generated when the student completes Part I of the application. The proposed supervisor will need this number in order to complete Part II of the application.

For help with NSERC's on-line system, you may contact NSERC's On-line Services Helpdesk at 613-995-4273 or webapp [at] nserc-crsng [dot] gc [dot] ca. Be sure to include your e-mail address and telephone number in your message.

Important application details

The following is a list of important points to consider when completing an application:

  • On Form 202 - Part I, "Degree" = Bachelor's and "Name of discipline" = Science or Engineering
  • McGill students must indicate their McGill email address on Form 202 - Part I
  • Up-to-date official transcript from home university must show all courses in which the student is currently registered; if not, an official attestation from the registrar's office must be included with the application
  • McGill transcript must be ordered via Minerva at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline (requesting to pick up transcript at Service Point will avoid mailing delays): McGill Transcript Ordering Info
  • Official transcripts from host universities (i.e. for any transferred credits) should be ordered as soon as possible
  • For Form 202 - Part I, students must create/upload their own scan of official transcripts; scan must be a single PDF file, in black and white, with only 1 copy of marking legend included; because official transcripts from McGill are protected, it is normal for the word "COPY" to appear on the scan
  • Because transcripts need to be scanned as part of NSERC's on-line system, students will be allowed to hand in their official transcript in an unsealed envelope when submitting the hard copy of their application
  • Reference number will be generated when student completes Form 202 - Part I; this number must then be forwarded to the proposed supervisor so that Form 202 - Part II can be completed
  • "Address at location of tenure" on Form 202 - Part II is the complete mailing address of the proposed supervisor's primary department
  • "Proposed start date" on Form 202 - Part II is either Monday, May 1 or Monday, May 8
  • 4-digit "Research subject code" on Form 202 - Part II should best describe the proposed area of research; a complete listing of codes is available on NSERC's website
  • "Outline of proposed research project" on Form 202 - Part II describes research that is related to a field in the natural sciences and/or engineering; supervision of the research is given by the NSERC grant holder (rather than a post doc, lab technician or other senior lab member)
  • "Outline of the student's role" on Form 202 - Part II must include a clear description of the student's participation and activities (i.e. beyond the role of lab assistant or technician)
  • Online part of application (i.e. Form 202 - Parts I and II + PDF file of student's official transcript) is not truly submitted to NSERC until the proposed supervisor selects the "Verify" button followed by the "Submit" button
  • "Unit" on NSERC USRA Application Checklist is the primary department of the proposed supervisor
  • Personal statement from student and NSERC USRA Application Checklist are only required for the hard copy of application handed in at McGill (not for the electronic submission to NSERC)

For non-McGill students only:

  • If student has never applied to or attended McGill before, ID fields on the Undergraduate Research Trainee Registration Form and NSERC USRA Application Checklist should be left blank
  • 3 signatures are required on the Undergraduate Research Trainee Registration Form: 1) student, 2) supervisor and 3) department chair/director or delegate (stamped signature from Chair will be accepted); Faculty Approval section on page 3 of the form should be left blank
  • Undergraduate Research Trainee Registration Form is only required for the hard copy of application handed in at McGill (not for the electronic submission to NSERC); this form must be completed in typed format, not handwritten

Where to submit hard copy of application

In order for a student to be considered for this competition, a hard copy of the complete application (no staples, paper clip only) must be handed in at McGill by the above deadline. If your proposed supervisor is from one of the following 5 departments, please submit your application to the department's NSERC USRA coordinator:

  • Anatomy & Cell Biology:
    Vittoria Catania, Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building, Rm M-30
  • Biochemistry:
    Christine Laberge, McIntyre Building, Rm 905
  • Microbiology & Immunology:
    Jennifer DiMassimo, Duff Building, Rm 511
  • Pharmacology & Therapeutics:
    Chantal Grignon, McIntyre Building, Rm 1325
  • Physiology:
    Sonia Viselli, McIntyre Building, Rm 1022

If your proposed supervisor is from a Faculty of Medicine department not listed above (e.g. Biomedical Engineering, Neurology, Psychiatry), please hand in your application to Jennifer Nemes at the Faculty's Research Office (McIntyre Building, Rm 637).

Award decisions

Each year, the Faculty of Medicine usually receives about 50 applications. Although the number of awards allocated to the Faculty of Medicine varies from year to year, the Faculty is usually able to support about 25 students.

By Friday, March 24, applicants of the 2017 competition will receive an email notification regarding the status of their application.


If you require clarification regarding the Faculty of Medicine's 2017 NSERC USRA competition, please contact Jennifer Nemes at rbursary [dot] med [at] mcgill [dot] ca or (514) 398-1603.