NEW - The following information is for the Summer 2021 competition offered by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Students and supervisors are asked to review the details below before starting an application.

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

The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to nurture your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies 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 2021 period. NSERC strongly encourages Canadian Aboriginal students to apply to this program and to self-identify when completing the online application form.

Application deadline

  • Students applying with a supervisor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences have until 11:59 PM on Monday, February 15, 2021 to submit their complete application.
  • This includes both the electronic submission required by NSERC as well as the electronic submissions required by McGill (see below for steps to completing an application).

Duration and value of award

  • An award involves 16 consecutive weeks of full-time research work conducted between May and August 2021 (exact Monday to Friday work schedule to be discussed/agreed upon by student and proposed supervisor).
  • Chosen start/end dates for the project can be May 3 to August 20 or May 10 to August 27.
  • The 16 weeks of research should not be interrupted (e.g. by vacation time).
  • Each award will consist of $6,000 from NSERC + a minimum contribution of $1,500 (25%) from the proposed supervisor.

Student eligibility

  • The competition is open to McGill as well as non-McGill students.
  • Student must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada at the time of application.
  • Student 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 NSERC USRAs throughout their university career.
  • Students are not permitted to do thesis research during the term of their award.
  • Students may not concurrently hold more than 1 research award during the summer term.
  • For more details, please refer to the student eligibility information on NSERC's website.

Supervisor eligibility

  • Supervisors must be a Full, Associate or Assistant Professor within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Please note that the departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Physiology are part of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (not the Faculty of Science).
  • If the supervisor holds a primary appointment at another university (e.g. Université de Montréal) and is an Adjunct Professor at McGill, the student must apply through the primary institution instead of McGill.
  • Supervisors must not be on leave during any part of the proposed 16 week project.
  • Supervisors can either currently hold an active NSERC grant, be a recent NSERC grant applicant or a former NSERC grant recipient. Please note that preference will be given to those who are currently funded by NSERC (e.g. as principal investigator or co-investigator of the grant).

The following spreadsheet provides a listing of researchers who actively hold a NSERC grant within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences: File nserc_supervisors_for_fmhs_s2021_rev.xlsx

In their application, students must indicate the primary department of their proposed supervisor.

Students are responsible for contacting researchers of interest directly using the link to Departments/Schools or Staff Directory.

Non-McGill applicants

In preparing an application, students must email rbursary.med [at] mcgill.ca for a copy of the required McGill online application form not accessible to them by login on this page.

Please note that NSERC does not offer travel allowances. Non-McGill award recipients from outside the Montreal area will therefore be expected to cover any travel-related expenses.

Selection criteria for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

NSERC USRA applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Academic record
  • Research aptitude
  • Expected quality of the training to be received

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

  • Only 1 application per student will be considered
  • Only 1 application per supervisor will be considered
  • Applicant must have a cumulative GPA score (CGPA) of 3.60 or higher (using 4.00 scale)
  • Preference will be given to U2 and U3 applicants (students with at least 36 credits completed, excluding freshman year)
  • A one page personal statement from the student must be included (see form below)

Notification of results

Each year, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences usually receives about 60 applications. Although the number of awards allocated to the Faculty can vary from year to year, it is usually able to support about 30 students.

By Tuesday, March 30, applicants of the Summer 2021 competition will receive an email notification regarding the status of their application.


If you require clarification regarding the Summer 2021 NSERC USRA competition offered by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, please contact Jennifer Nemes at rbursary.med [at] mcgill.ca.


Application Process

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