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SURA: Science Undergraduate Research Awards

This page contains information for Summer 2016.

Science Undergraduate Research Awards (SURAs) are for both Canadian and international McGill students registered in a science undergraduate program. SURA recipients will engage in 16 weeks of full-time research and development activity under the supervision of a McGill science professor holding grant funding, and will gain research experience in an exciting academic setting, while receiving financial support. First offered in Summer 2007, SURAs are made possible by funding from generous donors, participating research supervisors, and the Faculty of Science. For Summer 2016, SURAs will be valued at $5600 minimum.

SURAs are broadly similar to the NSERC USRA; two differences are, on the student side, that international students may apply, and on the supervisor side, it is not restricted to professors who hold research grants from NSERC.

  • Value: $5600 minimum (source: donor and/or Faculty of Science, $2800; supervisor, minimum $2800);
  • 16 weeks of full-time research;
  • Awarded on the basis of academic merit, in accordance with departmental selection procedures;
  • Also open to international students from McGill.

Student eligibility: 'Regular' SURAs

SURA applicants must:

  • Be registered in an undergraduate B.Sc. or B.A. & Sc. science program;
    • B.A. students are not eligible to apply for a SURA, but should look into the Arts Undergraduate Research Internship Awards (ARIA).
    • B.A. & Sc. students with an undeclared major, or who have declared an Arts major concentration but not a Science major concentration, are not eligible to hold an award. They should declare their second major concentration in Science, or a B.A. & Sc. interfaculty/ B.A. & Sc. honours / B.A. & Sc. joint honours program.
    • Students from outside the Faculty of Science are not eligible for this award (some examples: B.Sc. Agr. & Env. Sc., B.Sc. Kinesiology, B.Sc. Rehabilitation Science). 
    • B.Sc. MED-P and B.Sc. DENT-P students are also not eligible.
  • Be registered at McGill (either Canadian and international students);
  • Not concurrently hold an NSERC USRA;
  • Agree to provide thank you letters to the relevant donors, if they are accepted for a SURA, following Faculty of Science guidelines and timelines.
  • For the 'Pan-McGill' SURAs, there are also additional guidelines below.

Supervisor eligibility: 'Regular' SURAs

Supervisors must:

  • Be Faculty of Science professors, or Microbiology & Immunology professors. (See list of eligible units below, in the "How to apply" section.)
  • Hold a research grant from:
    • CRC (Canada Research Chairs),
    • NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada),
    • CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research),
    • SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), or
    • FRQNT (Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies), or
    • FRQS (Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé).

Supervisor and student eligibility: Pan-McGill SURAs, for research in other McGill academic units

Special funding allows the Faculty of Science to offer a very limited number of SURAs in Summer 2016 to Faculty of Science students (B.Sc., B.A. & Sc.) with McGill professors from outside the Faculty of Science.

Supervisors must:

  • Be McGill professors, but neither from the Faculty of Science nor Microbiology & Immunology professors (in those cases, please apply instead for the 'regular' SURAs);
  • Conduct research in the field of science;
  • Hold a research grant from:
    • CRC (Canada Research Chairs),
    • NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada),
    • CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research),
    • SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council),
    • FRQNT (Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies), or
    • FRQS (Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé).

For students:

  • You must meet all the regular SURA student eligibility requirements described above;
  • Pan-McGill SURAs are unusually competitive, given the small number of available awards, therefore: 
  • It is recommended that applicants have a minimum CGPA of 3.80, and
  • Preference may be given to students who are in U2 and U3 at the time of application, over students in U0 and U1.

How to apply; Deadline

The first step is to find a supervisor (a professor) who meets the supervisor eligibility criteria listed above, with whom you want to work, and who will have to submit a project proposal for you. (For SURAs in Physics, please see the note below.) To help find a supervisor, see the webpages for Science departments and schools; then, you can browse each unit's staff listing to find professors' research websites. For the Pan-McGill SURAs in other academic units, you can start at the webpage listing McGill faculties, identify the academic units that interest you, and then click through to academic directory / staff listing pages.

You and your supervisor should apply using the forms given in the next section.

If you have already applied for an NSERC USRA, please see below.

Where to apply depends on the unit (school or department) of the student's proposed supervisor. Each unit has its own selection process. Here are contacts and deadlines:

  Supervisor's Department or School Contact person Deadline
'Regular' SURAs Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences wen [dot] c [dot] yang [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Emily Wen Cui Yang) Friday, March 4, 2016
Biology susan [dot] gabe [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) Friday, February 26, 2016
Chemistry samuel [dot] sewall [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Samuel Sewall) Friday, March 11, 2016
(Submit applications to Dr. Sewall's mailbox in Chemistry Main Office, Otto Maass Building, Room 322)
Computer Science ann [dot] jack [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Ann Jack) Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Earth and Planetary Sciences kristy [dot] thornton [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Kristy Thornton) Monday, February 22, 2016
Geography undergrad [dot] geog [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. June Connolly) Friday, March 11, 2016
Mathematics and Statistics angela [dot] white [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Angela White) Friday, February 26, 2016
Microbiology and Immunology maria [dot] babiak [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Maria Babiak) Friday, February 26, 2016
Office for Science and Society joe [dot] schwarcz [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. Joe Schwarcz) TBC
Physics Prof. Walter Reisner Friday, February 26, 2016.
(Before you apply, please read these application instructions specific to Physics)
Psychology julia [dot] marussi [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Julia Marussi) Thursday, March 17, 2016, noon
Redpath Museum: Apply through Biology susan [dot] gabe [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) Friday, February 26, 2016
Pan-McGill SURAs Other McGill units victor [dot] chisholm [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Mr. Victor Chisholm) Monday, March 7, 2016, by noon, Dawson Hall, 408-A.

Application forms (for students and supervisors)

For NSERC USRA applicants

Have you already applied for an NSERC USRA Would you like to be considered for a SURA?

For a regular SURA: Ask the department where you are applying whether you need to complete the SURA forms now, or later. Some departments may consider your NSERC USRA dossier for the SURA competition (but will ask you and your supervisor to complete the SURA forms later). Others require you to submit the SURA forms to be considered. (Ultimately, you cannot receive a SURA if you do not submit the SURA forms. The question is whether they will 'recycle' your NSERC USRA dossier for initial evaluation.)

For a Pan-McGill SURA with a supervisor outside both the Faculty of Science and Microbiology & Immunology: Please complete and submit the SURA forms. The Office for Undergraduate Research in Science manages the Pan-McGill SURA but does not have access to your NSERC USRA forms.

Related programs and additional opportunities

More information

Please contact the department where you wish to hold the awards; please see the contacts above. For general questions you may also contact victor [dot] chisholm [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Victor Chisholm), Undergraduate Research Officer, Tel.: 514-398-5964.