NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (2022)

The information below pertains to Summer 2022. Please note the following major changes for 2022: The default duration is now 15 weeks, not 16 weeks; the value has increased; student eligibility has been extended to certain protected persons. For more details, including remote and in-person projects, please read on.

The NSERC logo.The NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) in Universities program is meant to nurture your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering. USRAs are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies in these fields. It is an opportunity to gain research experience in an academic setting, while receiving financial support. Recipients engage in a research and development activity in the area of natural sciences or engineering, under the supervision of a McGill Faculty of Science professor.

This page is for NSERC USRAs with Professors from the Faculty of Science. If your proposed supervisor is from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, or another McGill Faculty, please start here instead. If you are interested in an NSERC USRA with a professor at another Canadian university, start at that university's website instead.

The Faculty of Science invites applications from all eligible candidates, and especially those who are members of underrepresented groups, including Women, Persons with Disabilities, Indigenous People, Racialized people/Visible Minorities, and LGBTT2SQ* People (sexual orientation and/or gender identity minorities).

  1. Students and Professors: Review student & supervisor eligibility, deadlines, contact persons, and other details on this webpage as well as on the NSERC website.

    Why should you apply?

    Each summer, dozens of students receive funding for a full-time research project through this program. Students develop new skills, learn a lot about how science works, get a better sense of whether they want to pursue research at the graduate level, meet new friends and mentors... and receive financial support. Many undergraduates say that their summer research award allowed them to understand their courses better, changed their academic and professional direction, or was the best part of their undergraduate degree.

    Value and duration

    • When: The Faculty of Science offers NSERC USRAs in the Summer term (May through August). We do not generally offer USRAs in other terms.
    • Duration: 15 consecutive weeks on a full-time basis. (16 weeks: optional, if agreed upon with the supervisor.)
    • Value in 2022:
      Duration: 15 weeks (default) 16 weeks (optional) 2021, for comparison
      NSERC USRA: $6000 $6000 $6000
      Professor contribution (minimum): $1800 (15 weeks) $2300 (16 weeks) $1500 (16 weeks)
      Total value (minimum): $7800 $8300 $7500
    • Supplements (not guaranteed)

    Student eligibility

    • You must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or a protected person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the deadline date for applications at the institution.
    • You must be registered, at the time you apply, in a bachelor's degree program.
    • To hold an award, you must have been registered in a Bachelor’s degree in at least one of the 2 terms immediately previous to the award.
    • You may hold a maximum of three USRAs throughout your university career.
    • Students from other universities may also apply.
    • First year students are eligible to apply (provided they meet all other requirements). At the time you apply (typically February), you must provide transcripts that show your fall grades and winter registration. To hold the award, first year students must provide transcripts (in early May) that show successful completion of one year of university study (minimum 24 credits) .
    • You cannot concurrently hold a SURA, Arts ARIA, Schull Yang International Experience Award, McGill International Experience Award, or similar award.
    • Individual departments may set higher requirements than NSERC's minimum requirements, and this award application process is competitive.
    • There are other requirements too: please consult the USRA information on NSERC's website.

    Selection criteria

    NSERC has stipulated that institutions should select USRA recipients based on the following three criteria (which the Faculty of Science expects for SURA as well):

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

    Unsure if your application will be competitive?

    Applying for the award does not guarantee that you will receive it. The only guarantee is that if you do not apply for an award, you will not receive it. However, even if your application seems unsuccessful, many good things can still happen!

    • First, read the eligibility information on this page, for both you (student) and your supervisor. Consult your supervisor's department if you have questions about eligibility; refer to "Departmental contacts, deadlines, how to submit" further below.
    • A department may be able to give you information such as the number of applicants and awards last year, or the average or minimum CGPA; however applicant pools and the number of awards vary from year to year. A comparable dossier may be uncompetitive one year, but successful the next. If you are clearly ineligible, that is one thing; but if you are unsure how competitive you might be, consider applying.
    • If your award application is unsuccessful, sometimes supervisors can provide other sources of funding, or find other ways to involve you in research, for the summer itself.
    • An unsuccessful summer award application may open other doors later: a research course for credit next fall, or a successful award application next summer, for example.
    • Please also consult "Other sources of funding" below.

    Are you thinking of taking summer courses?

    For all projects: Whether the project is remote or ‘in-person’, students are expected to pursue their projects on a full-time basis, for 15 weeks.

    Students may take one course during the USRA period, but permission cannot be presumed. This requires a written plan that estimates lost time and a strategy to make it up; and approval from the Supervisor, Department/School, and Faculty. (The Faculty of Science expects the same for SURA.) Additional flexibility may apply in exceptional cases, such as required courses that are only offered in the summer. Ask your supervisor's department to contact the Faculty of Science for more details.

    Other sources of funding

    If you are not eligible for an NSERC USRA, or if you apply but do not receive the award, here are a few suggestions. Deadlines vary.

    • Other similar summer undergraduate research awards:
      • Science Undergraduate Research Awards (SURA) are for McGill Faculty of Science students with McGill Faculty of Science professors; however, there are neither restrictions for citizenship (international students may also apply) nor restrictions on the supervisor's grant type.
      • SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering: for research with McGill Engineering professors)
      • ARIA (Arts Undergraduate Research Internship Awards: for McGill B.A. and B.A. & Sc. students)
    • NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE): undergraduate studentships are available through some of the CREATE training programs. Find out more about the program in general and then search for existing CREATE programs at McGill or across Canada.
    • NSERC Indigenous Student Ambassadors (NISA)
    • McGill Work-Study Program (for students with demonstrated financial need)
    • Schull Yang International Experience Awards (for research abroad)
    • SUS 21st Century Ambassador Fund (SCAF) (to attend or host academic conferences or competitions)
    • Funding from your supervisor (professor)
    • Departmental funding or awards (where applicable)
    • External funding
      • Funding from your country (if you are a citizen or resident of a country other than Canada; e.g., NSF REU).
      • Other Canadian and international programs: MITACS Globalink (various countries), DAAD RISE (Germany), etc.
      • Some foundations (cancer, liver, wildlife, etc.) or scholarly associations (physiology, etc.) have summer studentship programs. Brainstorm with your supervisor or lab members to determine which associations might be relevant, then check if they have funding for which you are eligible.
  2. Students: Find a supervisor. Your supervisor must be willing to provide the minimum financial contribution described in "Value and Duration" above.

    Where and with whom to apply

    • To submit a complete application, you need to identify an eligible professor (see below) to serve as your proposed supervisor and to submit a project proposal for you. If you start at the webpages for Science departments, you can browse each unit's site to find professors' research websites. Here is some advice.
    • For Physics projects/professors, also consult this page.
    • Apply through your proposed supervisor's school or department, not necessarily your own.
    • Each Faculty of Science unit has a quota of available awards, and has its own selection process and deadlines.
    • You will find the departmental contacts and deadlines further below.

    Supervisor eligibility for NSERC USRA

    • In the Faculty of Science, the proposed supervisor must be a professor who has held, currently holds, or has applied for an eligible NSERC grant. The supervisor may be the principal investigator or the co-investigator of the grant.
    • In general: NSERC expects the research supervisor to be physically present for the majority of the period of the award. It is acceptable for the research supervisor to delegate supervision for short periods to other faculty members, experienced technicians, postdoctoral fellows or doctoral students. Remote work is acceptable with supervision expected on a frequent basis.

    My proposed supervisor is an Assistant Professor /Associate Professor / Full Professor / Jointly Appointed professor / Associate Member / Adjunct Professor. Does it matter? What do these terms mean?

    Please note that the following is specific to NSERC USRAs in Faculty of Science departments. Professor eligibility for SURAs is different.

    Title Explanation or definition Relevance for your NSERC USRA application
    Assistant Professor Professors typically start their academic career as Assistant Professor. It does not matter whether your proposed supervisor is an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or (Full) Professor, as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements. What does matter: Ask your professor the department(s) in which he or she is appointed. At least one of the professor's departments should be listed below. Check that her or his name is on the departmental list.
    Associate Professor Associate Professor is a promotion from Assistant Professor.
    Professor (or Full Professor) (Full) Professor is a promotion from Associate Professor.
    Joint appointments Some McGill professors (whether assistant, associate or full) hold an academic appointment of substantial weight in more than one academic unit. As above, check that at least one of the professor's departments is on the list under "Departments, contacts and deadlines" and check if her or his name is on the list. Especially for Associate Members, ask the contact for that department if they expect you to apply through the supervisor's other department.
    Associate Member status Some McGill professors hold an affiliation with a secondary unit, where a joint appointment is not appropriate.
    Adjunct Professor The individual is primarily employed outside McGill - for example, by government, in industry, as a professional, or at another university or institution - but participates in the academic activities of the McGill unit where he or she is appointed as Adjunct Professor. Typically not eligible to apply through McGill, since NSERC requires you to apply for a USRA through the supervisor's primary institution. (Example: your supervisor holds her or his main appointment at Université de Montréal, but has an additional appointment at McGill as an adjunct professor. In this case, apply for an NSERC USRA through the Université de Montréal, not through McGill.) If you are uncertain, ask the departmental contact, who can check with the Faculty of Science.

    What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?

    • Please ask if she/he holds an NSERC research grant, previously held an NSERC grant, or is currently applying for an NSERC grant. Please share this information with your supervisor's department's contact person (refer to the "Departments, contacts, where to submit, and deadlines" section below) so they can contact the Faculty of Science to verify the supervisor's eligibility.
    • Your proposed supervisor might still be eligible. There are several possible reasons he or she might not show up here, which include the following:
      • This list does not include professors from outside the McGill Faculty of Science. (In this case, apply through the other Faculty according to their deadlines.)
      • Some professors have appointments in multiple departments (or faculties), but are only listed in one department below.
      • Professors who are currently applying for an NSERC grant, or held a grant in the past, but do not currently hold a grant, might not appear here.
      • The list below is preliminary, not final. It represents a slice in time, and may not have the most recent information.

    Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Carolina Dufour
    2. Prof. Frederic Fabry
    3. Prof. John Gyakum
    4. Prof. Yi Huang
    5. Prof. Daniel Kirshbaum
    6. Prof. Thomas Preston
    7. Prof. Djordje Romanic
    8. Prof. David Straub
    9. Prof. Ivy Tan
    10. Prof. Bruno Tremblay
    11. Prof. Andreas Zuend

    Note: Prof. Peter Bartello (whose grant is listed under Mathematics & Statistics) and Prof. Parisa Ariya (whose grant is listed under Chemistry) are also eligible.

    Biology: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    See also the Redpath Museum below. Several researchers are jointly appointed in Biology and the Redpath Museum, but are only listed in one place.

    1. Prof. Ehab Abouheif
    2. Prof. Graham Bell
    3. Prof. Gary Brouhard
    4. Prof. Thomas E Bureau
    5. Prof. Lauren Chapman
    6. Prof. Melania Cristescu
    7. Prof. Joseph Dent
    8. Prof. Gregor Fussmann
    9. Prof. Abigail Gerhold
    10. Prof. Andrew Gonzalez
    11. Prof. Irene Gregory-Eaves
    12. Prof. Frederic Guichard
    13. Prof. Mélanie Guigueno
    14. Prof. Anna Hargreaves
    15. Prof. Paul Harrison
    16. Prof. Arnold Hayer
    17. Prof. Michael Hendricks
    18. Prof. Andrew Hendry
    19. Prof. Paul Lasko
    20. Prof. Brian Leung
    21. Prof. Nam Sung Moon
    22. Prof. Laura Nilson
    23. Prof. Tomoko Oyama
    24. Prof. Laura Pollock
    25. Prof. Catherine Potvin
    26. Prof. Neil Price
    27. Prof. Simon Reader
    28. Prof. Rodrigo Reyes Lamothe
    29. Prof. Richard Roy
    30. Prof. Jon Sakata
    31. Prof. Frieder Schöck
    32. Prof. Daniel J Schoen
    33. Prof. Fiona Soper
    34. Prof. Jennifer Sunday
    35. Prof. Jacalyn Vogel
    36. Prof. Alanna Watt
    37. Prof. Stephanie Weber
    38. Prof. Sarah Woolley
    39. Prof. Monique Zetka
    40. Prof. Huanquan Zheng

    Chemistry: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Mark P Andrews
    2. Prof. Parisa A Ariya
    3. Prof. Bruce A Arndtsen
    4. Prof. Karine Auclair
    5. Prof. Christopher Barrett
    6. Prof. Amy Blum
    7. Prof. Scott Bohle
    8. Prof. Gonzalo Cosa
    9. Prof. Masad J Damha
    10. Prof. Tomislav Friscic
    11. Prof. James L Gleason
    12. Prof. Matthew Harrington
    13. Prof. Ashok K Kakkar
    14. Prof. Pat Kambhampati
    15. Prof. Rustam Khaliullin
    16. Prof. Marc-Andre Légaré
    17. Prof. C.J. Li
    18. Prof. Nathan Luedtke
    19. Prof. Jean-Philip Lumb
    20. Prof. Janine Mauzeroll
    21. Prof. Eric McCalla
    22. Prof. Maureen McKeague
    23. Prof. Tony Mittermaier
    24. Prof. Nicolas Moitessier
    25. Prof. Audrey Moores
    26. Prof. Dima Perepichka
    27. Prof. Linda Reven
    28. Prof. Lena Simine
    29. Prof. Brad Siwick
    30. Prof. Hanadi Sleiman
    31. Prof. Christopher Thibodeaux
    32. Prof. Youla S Tsantrizos
    33. Prof. Theo van de Ven
    34. Prof. Paul Wiseman

    Computer Science: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Oana Balmau
    2. Prof. Mathieu Blanchette
    3. Prof. Xiao-Wen Chang
    4. Prof. Jackie Cheung
    5. Prof. Claude Crepeau
    6. Prof. Luc Devroye
    7. Prof. Christophe Dubach
    8. Prof. Gregory L Dudek
    9. Prof. Jin Guo
    10. Prof. Hamed Hatami
    11. Prof. Bettina Kemme
    12. Prof. Jörg Kienzle
    13. Prof. Paul Kry
    14. Prof. Michael Langer
    15. Prof. Yue Li
    16. Prof. Hsiu-Chin Lin
    17. Prof. Xue Liu
    18. Prof. Muthucumaru Maheswaran
    19. Prof. David Meger
    20. Prof. Prakash Panangaden
    21. Prof. Brigitte Pientka
    22. Prof. Joelle Pineau
    23. Prof. Doina Precup
    24. Prof. Reihaneh Rabbany
    25. Prof. Siamak Ravanbakhsh
    26. Prof. Siva Reddy
    27. Prof. Blake Richards
    28. Prof. Robert Robere
    29. Prof. Martin Robillard
    30. Prof. David Rolnick
    31. Prof. Derek Ruths
    32. Prof. Xujie Si
    33. Prof. Kaleem Siddiqi
    34. Prof. Clark Verbrugge
    35. Prof. Jérôme Waldispuhl

    Note: Prof. Adrian Vetta (whose grant is listed under Mathematics & Statistics) is also eligible.

    Earth and Planetary Sciences: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Don Baker
    2. Prof. Kim Berlo
    3. Prof. Peter Douglas
    4. Prof. Eric Galbraith
    5. Prof. Natalya Gomez
    6. Prof. Galen Halverson
    7. Prof. James Kirkpatrick
    8. Prof. Yajing Liu
    9. Prof. Nagissa Mahmoudi
    10. Prof. Jeffrey McKenzie
    11. Prof. Christie Rowe
    12. Prof. John Stix
    13. Prof. Vincent Johan van Hinsberg
    14. Prof. A.E. Williams-Jones

    Note: Prof. Nicolas Cowan (whose grant is listed under Physics) is also eligible.

    Geography: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Gail L Chmura
    2. Prof. Margaret Kalacska
    3. Prof. Bernhard Lehner
    4. Prof. Graham MacDonald
    5. Prof. Kevin Manaugh
    6. Prof. Grant McKenzie
    7. Prof. Timothy Moore
    8. Prof. Brian Robinson
    9. Prof. Nigel Roulet
    10. Prof. Christian von Sperber

    Mathematics and Statistics: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Louigi Addario-Berry
    2. Prof. Patrick Allen
    3. Prof. Masoud Asgharian
    4. Prof. Peter Bartello
    5. Prof. Linan Chen
    6. Prof. Rustum Choksi
    7. Prof. Henri Darmon
    8. Prof. Christian Genest
    9. Prof. Eyal Goren
    10. Prof. Pengfei Guan
    11. Prof. Sarah Harrison
    12. Prof. Tim Hoheisel
    13. Prof. Tony Humphries
    14. Prof. Jacques Hurtubise
    15. Prof. Dmitry Jakobson
    16. Prof. Vojkan Jaksic
    17. Prof. Niky Kamran
    18. Prof. Abbas Khalili
    19. Prof. Jean-Philippe Lessard
    20. Prof. Jessica Lin
    21. Prof. Michael Lipnowski
    22. Prof. Jean-Christophe Nave
    23. Prof. Johanna Neslehova
    24. Prof. Sergey Norin
    25. Prof. Adam Oberman
    26. Prof. Elliot Paquette
    27. Prof. Mikael Pichot
    28. Prof. Piotr Przytycki
    29. Prof. Brent Pym
    30. Prof. Marcin Sabok
    31. Prof. Russell Steele
    32. Prof. David Stephens
    33. Prof. Valentino Tosatti
    34. Prof. John Toth
    35. Prof. Anush Tserunyan
    36. Prof. Gantumur Tsogterel
    37. Prof. Jerome Vetois
    38. Prof. Adrian Vetta
    39. Prof. Daniel Wise
    40. Prof. Yi Yang

    Physics: some eligible supervisors

    McGill Physics runs a different process to match students and professors. Please read this page before applying.

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Kartiek Agarwal
    2. Prof. Robert Brandenberger
    3. Prof. Thomas Brunner
    4. Prof. Simon Caron-Huot
    5. Prof. Cynthia Chiang
    6. Prof. Lilian Childress
    7. Prof. Jim Cline
    8. Prof. Bill Coish
    9. Prof. David Cooke
    10. Prof. Francois Corriveau
    11. Prof. Nicolas Cowan
    12. Prof. Andrew Cumming
    13. Prof. Keshav Dasgupta
    14. Prof. Matt Dobbs
    15. Prof. Paul François
    16. Prof. Charles Gale
    17. Prof. Guillaume Gervais
    18. Prof. Peter Grütter
    19. Prof. Hong Guo
    20. Prof. Daryl Haggard
    21. Prof. David Hanna
    22. Prof. Michael Hilke
    23. Prof. Sangyong Jeon
    24. Prof. Victoria Kaspi
    25. Prof. Eve Lee
    26. Prof. Adrian Liu
    27. Prof. Shaun Lovejoy
    28. Prof. Alexander Maloney
    29. Prof. Tami Pereg-Barnea
    30. Prof. Nikolas Provatas
    31. Prof. Kenneth Ragan
    32. Prof. Walter Reisner
    33. Prof. Steven Robertson
    34. Prof. Dominic Ryan
    35. Prof. Jack Sankey (Childress)
    36. Prof. Katelin Schutz
    37. Prof. Jonathan Sievers
    38. Prof. Brigitte Vachon
    39. Prof. Andreas Warburton
    40. Prof. Tracy Webb

    Note: The following professors are also eligible, but their grants are listed under other departments:

    • Prof. Sarah Harrison, (Mathematics & Statistics)
    • Prof. Bradley Siwick, (Chemistry)
    • Prof. Paul Wiseman, (Chemistry)

    Psychology: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    1. Prof. Rosemary Bagot
    2. Prof. Jennifer Bartz
    3. Prof. Jonathan Britt
    4. Prof. Carl Falk
    5. Prof. Oliver Hardt
    6. Prof. Heungsun Hwang
    7. Prof. Brendan Johns
    8. Prof. Richard Koestner
    9. Prof. Milica Miocevic
    10. Prof. Jeffrey Mogil
    11. Prof. Karim Nader
    12. Prof. Kris Onishi
    13. Prof. David J Ostry
    14. Prof. Ross Otto
    15. Prof. Caroline Palmer
    16. Prof. Michael Petrides
    17. Prof. Jelena Ristic
    18. Prof. Mathieu Roy
    19. Prof. Signy Sheldon
    20. Prof. Debra Titone
    21. Prof. Anna Weinberg

    Redpath Museum: some eligible supervisors

    If a professor is not listed here, she/he may still be eligible; please refer to "What if my proposed supervisor is not on these lists?" above.

    See also the Department of Biology above. Several researchers are jointly appointed in Biology and the Redpath Museum, but are only listed in one place.

    1. Prof. Rowan Barrett
    2. Prof. David M Green
    3. Prof. Andrew Hendry
    4. Prof. Hans Larsson
    5. Prof. Virginie Millien
    6. Prof. Anthony Ricciardi

    Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Physiology

    These departments are part of the Faculty of Medicine. Please refer to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science's webpage for NSERC USRA.

    Other academic units

    Please refer to the McGill-wide NSERC USRA webpage.

  3. Students: Complete your application forms. These require official transcripts from all universities you've attended. Give a copy of your NSERC application form to your supervisor so she or he has your NSERC reference number.

    Questions about eligibility, forms, etc.?

    Clarify these questions before you apply or as soon as an issue arises. Generally this means to consult the supervisor's department. You will find departmental contacts further below. Departmental staff will consult the Faculty of Science if or when needed.

    Forms for students, including transcripts and checklists

    Before you start, please consult NSERC’s Application Instructions.

    1. University-level transcripts: Order official copies.
      • You must upload one document (PDF) containing official transcripts of all universities you attended.
        • This includes separate official transcripts from each university you may have attended; for example, prior to McGill, on exchange, in the summer, etc.
        • Do not include CEGEP transcripts.
        • If you have difficulty combining multiple transcripts, you may want to request paper copies of all official transcripts (instead of e-transcripts), and then physically scan them all yourself into one PDF.
        • NSERC prefers black and white scans.
      • NSERC will accept McGill's e-Transcript, even if the transcript legend does not appear, and even though it is in colour.
      • NSERC may require that updated or official, original documents be provided after the completed application has been submitted to NSERC. If you order official copies on paper, hold onto them.
    2. NSERC Form 202, part 1: This is the main form you must complete.
      • Complete Form 202, part 1 using NSERC's online system.
      • You must upload a scan of your transcripts. See also above.
      • You must submit your complete form (Form 202, part 1) before your professor can do his or her part. Your professor will need your (last) name and your NSERC reference number.
    3. Checklist - Consult, complete, and provide to your department as part of your application.

    Your application is not yet complete. Your supervisor must complete NSERC Form 202, part 2 (with your project proposal) and you must submit PDFs of your documents to your supervisor's department (details below).

    How to name your files / electronic application documents

    Name each PDF according to the following format:
    ...where YYY-MMM-DD is the date you prepared this document, italic text (mixed case) represents variables, and roman text (all-capitals) represents constants.

    For supervisors from: Sample file name: Description:
    Atmos. & Ocean. Sci. (if possible), Geography (requested), Mathematics & Statistics (if possible):
    Please combine all application documents for each student into one PDF.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Complete-ProfMacdonald-2021-Feb-05.pdf Complete USRA application (if supervisor's department requests one PDF containing all documents) for student Jane Doe with Professor Macdonald, prepared on February 5
    All other eligible departments that are not listed above:
    You may submit each application document as a separate PDF.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Form1-2021-Feb-05.pdf Only NSERC USRA Form 202 Part 1, for student Jane Doe, prepared on February 5. Note that this should include the transcripts which you have uploaded to NSERC.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Checklist-2021-Feb-05.pdf The required checklist, for student Jane Doe, prepared on February 5.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Form2-ProfMacdonald-2021-Feb-06.pdf Only NSERC USRA Form 202 Part 2, for student Jane Doe, supervisor Professor Macdonald, prepared on February 6
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Form1-2021-Feb-12.pdf Updated version of Form 1 (including transcripts as uploaded to NSERC), dated February 12. Avoid submitting multiple versions of a document; but if necessary, for example if a grade changes, the date in the filename will help your department track which is the most recent version.
    Doe-Jane-USRA-Statement-2021-Feb-05.pdf A supporting statement is not a normal requirement in most departments; however, if student Jane Doe chooses to provide one, or if her department requests a statement from all applicants, this would be the naming format to use. Change "statement" in the filename if this is for some other kind of document, such as your CV.

  4. Students and professors: VERY IMPORTANT, about ‘in-person’ projects and remotely supervised projects: We encourage proposals for ‘in-person’ projects; however all project proposals must include a wholly-remote scenario (either as ‘Plan A’ or ‘Plan B’). The Faculty of Science invites supervisors to consider safety, feasibility, adaptability, equity, and quality of training when planning projects. Students and supervisors should discuss expectations and constraints before applying and before accepting awards.

    Projects with ‘in-person’ components (including meetings): ENCOURAGED

    Projects with an ‘in-person’ component may best support the scientific development of students who are in, or able to come to, Montreal, provided the projects seem feasible and permissible at the time of application, and become or remain so.

    We expect that many ‘in-person’ activities will be possible in Summer 2022. We encourage supervisors to propose ‘in-person’ projects, subject to the following.

    The project proposal must identify any ‘in-person’ components (even in-person meetings).

    The project proposal must also describe an scenario that the student could complete wholly remotely. If ‘Plan A’ is partly or wholly in-person, there must be a wholly-remote ‘Plan B’.

    The Faculty of Science encourages flexibility on the part of both students and supervisors. However, students might not be able to, and therefore, cannot be required to switch to an ‘in-person’ activity that was not disclosed on the application. Furthermore, plans to switch from remote to ‘in-person’ must treat students fairly. For example, if ‘Plan A’ is for a remote project, and ‘Plan B’ includes fieldwork, but travel restrictions prevent the student from going to the field, the student must not face a financial penalty, and should be allowed to continue with the remote project.

    Remotely-supervised plans: REQUIRED as either ‘Plan A’ or 'Plan B’

    Remote projects may be the best or only option for students who are not in or cannot come to Montreal, or if COVID restrictions tighten.

    For Summer 2022, supervisors may propose wholly remotely supervised projects as the sole project: this is permitted, but not encouraged as the default.

    A remotely supervised project is required as the backup project if the primary project includes any ‘in-person’ components.

    For remotely-supervised projects, students and supervisors must be respectful of time zone differences, but students can be required to participate virtually/electronically in meetings or activities at specified times.

    Definition of ‘in-person’

    Definition of ‘in-person’: any project that requires the student to be in a specific location; anything other than remote projects that students can pursue wherever they happen to be.

    Some examples: in a lab; in a specific field location; in-person meetings; any project that involves human contact; any project that requires the student to travel anywhere.

    ‘In-person’ is not limited to lab, field, or clinical research; in-person meetings constitute an ‘in-person’ component.

    Recommended format to write project proposals

    For clarity to supervisors, students, and selection committees, we encourage supervisors to use one of the following formats to write project proposals:

    Scenario Plan A (Default) Plan B (Backup)

    Plan A = ‘In-person’;
    Plan B = Wholly remote

    Project proposal, including a clear description of ALL ‘in-person’ activities (definition above), PLUS:

    “If circumstances require a remote project, we plan to…”
    Description of remotely pursued and wholly remotely supervised project

    Plan A = Wholly remote;
    Plan B = ‘In-person’

    Remote project proposal, PLUS:

    “The preceding project can be pursued and supervised wholly remotely. However, if circumstances permit, we plan to…”
    Description of ALL ’in-person’ activities

    Wholly remote project

    Project proposal, PLUS:
    “This project can be pursued and supervised wholly remotely.”


  5. Professors: Complete the supervisor's application form (NSERC Form 202, Part 2) following the advice below. Give a copy to your student. Inform your department if you choose a 16-week award instead of a 15-week award.
    VERY IMPORTANT: Read the information immediately below (for professors) and immediately above (for both professors and students).

    Information for supervisors (professors) when completing NSERC forms

    It is the responsibility of researchers and their departments to ensure that application forms include all information required by both NSERC and the Faculty of Science. Please read the following tips and "gotchas".

    • The project description now involves three separate fields:
      1. Outline of proposed research project: (i) This is the longest of the three fields, so it may be the best place to describe Plan A / Plan B for in-person and/or remote projects; above, you can find the Faculty of Science's expectations and requirements. (ii) Describe the student's research project, not necessarily your larger research program.
      2. Outline of the student's role: Consider starting with "The student will..."
      3. Expected quality of the training to be received: You may wish to describe the outcomes, goals, or benefits the student may attain. Please also confirm that supervision will be (primarily) by the named supervisor, not (solely/predominantly) by a postdoc, lab tech, other senior lab member, etc.
    • The start date on the form should: reflect your real plans; be May 1 or later; allow the student to finish a 15-week (or 16-week) project before Fall classes start - on August 31 this year! There is no dedicated field on the form for either the duration or the end-date, but please see the section below about vaue and duration.
    • $5000 question: The research subject code is a required field and is also a key part in identifying eligible candidates for the Canadian Forest Sector Workforce Diversity undergraduate supplements (worth an additional $5000).
    • Submitting the form takes two steps; without these we cannot send dossiers to NSERC:
      1. Click on the Portfolio page and select Verify to ensure that all the required information has been entered. Once the verification is completed, the status of the application will be changed to "Completed," which really means "Not yet submitted" because...
      2. You must then select Submit to LO ("liaison officer"). This will lock both your form and the student's form against further updates.
    • Post-submission revisions? After you "Submit to LO", if either you or your student need to update any information, and you find that the form is protected, contact your departmental contact (or Victor Chisholm) to unlock the form.
    • Give the student a PDF of Form 202 Part 2, so she or he can provide a complete application to your department office. If your department asks for it directly from you, the Faculty of Science still expects that you and the student have discussed project expectations.

    Where to find the NSERC form and support

    About value and duration: default 15 weeks (minimum top-up $1800); optional 16 weeks (minimum top-up $2300).

    When your department prepares offer letters to NSERC USRA students, they will indicate the offer is for a 15-week award, unless you tell them you wish to offer a 16-week award (e.g., by email to the departmental USRA coordinator).


    • In 2021, a 16-week USRA required a minimum supervisor's contribution of $1500.
    • In 2022, NSERC requires larger contributions from the supervisor than previously.
    • Therefore, in the Faculty of Science, for 2022, the default is a 15-week award, with a minimum supervisor's top-up of $1800.
    • You may optionally continue to offer 16-week awards, but this will now require a larger top-up of $2300.
    • Later in the term, your department will have to (re)confirm the duration and amount when they process the student's payments, but this will happen after they have already sent offer letters to students indicating the duration of the USRA.

    Recommended start and end dates

    Note that Fall classes start on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, therefore we suggest:
    Start End (Default 15 weeks) End (If 16 weeks)

    Mon., May 2, 2022

    Fri., August 12, 2022

    Fri., August 19, 2022

    Mon., May 9, 2022

    Fri., August 19, 2022

    Fri., August 26, 2022

    Mon., May 16, 2022

    Fri., August 26, 2022

    N/A (Would overlap with start of term)

  6. Students: Submit your complete application before the deadline. Students apply through the department of the proposed supervisor. Deadlines vary by department. (Not sure what to submit, or how your PDFs must be named? Refer to #3 above.)

    Departmental contacts and deadlines

    You must provide your application (PDF) to a McGill department. Simply submitting the electronic forms on the NSERC portal is insufficient, because the staff in McGill departments who select the awardees do not have access to the NSERC system.

    The "contact person" listed in each department is both for questions, and to whom you should submit your completed application, unless noted otherwise.

    Supervisor's department: Contact person: Deadline:
    Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Ms. Manuela Franzo via graduateinfo.aos [at] mcgill.ca (graduateinfo.aos@m...) Thursday, February 24, 2022, 12:00 Noon Montreal time
    (NB: 2 contacts!)
    BOTH susan.gabe [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) AND nancy.nelson [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Nancy Nelson) Friday, February 25, 2022
    Chemistry Dr. Samuel Sewall via advisor.chemistry [at] mcgill.ca (advisor.chemistry@m...)
    Optional: include your C.V. and/or personal statement.
    Friday, February 18, 2022
    Computer Science isabella.flanagan [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Isabella Flanagan) Thursday, February 24, 2022
    Earth and Planetary Sciences kristy.thornton [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Kristy Thornton) Friday, February 25, 2022
    Geography Ms. June Connolly via undergrad.geog [at] mcgill.ca (undergrad.geog@m...) Friday, February 25, 2022
    Mathematics and Statistics angela.white [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Angela White) Friday, February 25, 2022, 4:30 PM Montreal time
    Physics Prof. Simon Caron-Huot
    Note: Consult these application instructions specific to Physics.
    Thursday, February 24, 2022
    Psychology Ms. Julia Marussi via undergrad.psych [at] mcgill.ca (undergrad.psych@m...) Thursday, February 24, 2022
    Redpath Museum
    (NB: 2 contacts!)
    BOTH susan.gabe [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Susan Gabe) AND nancy.nelson [at] mcgill.ca (Ms. Nancy Nelson) Friday, February 25, 2022
    (Apply through Biology)
    Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences You can find the deadlines for other faculties via the McGill-wide NSERC USRA webpage. Application procedures, deadlines, and other details vary according to the faculty of your proposed supervisor.
    Faculty of Arts [including but not limited to the School of Information Studies]
    Faculty of Dentistry
    Faculty of Education [including but not limited to the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education]
    Faculty of Engineering
    Faculty of Management
    Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences [including but not limited to the Departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology, and Physiology]
    Faculty of Music

  7. Watch your (McGill) email for results. Most offers will be made to students by mid-March; however some may come later.
  8. If you are offered an award: Keep your offer letter, read it carefully, and follow the procedures it describes to accept your award.
  9. The first instalment of your award payment should normally come by late May.

    More about award payments

    If you are offered an award, departmental staff will ask supervisors (professors) to confirm the source of funds for the professor's share of your award. Watch for email messages or requests: they may contact you to sign a form or provide further information.

    Your award payment will be processed in part by your supervisor's department (for the supervisor's portion, minimum $1800), and in part by the Faculty of Science (for the NSERC portion, $6000). The two offices may process these at different times. Therefore, it is normal in April if you do not see your award in MINERVA, or in early May to only see one of the two parts of your award. Your first pay should normally come by mid or late May, by direct deposit to your bank account; if not, ask the contact person in your supervisor's department.

    You will be able to see your award payments in MINERVA > Financial Aid & Awards > My Financial Aid and Awards. Please note that there can be a delay of 2-3 business days between the date you see on MINERVA and when it gets to your bank account.

  10. In May, start your research project.
  11. Watch for an email from NSERC in mid-summer (usually late June or early July). This letter will confirm your award. Keep this letter!
  12. FRQNT supplements, $1500 TBC: Your email letter from NSERC will indicate if you are eligible to apply for this supplement. If so, follow their application instructions and deadlines.

    FRQNT Supplements

    FRQNT Supplements: The Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) will offer a $1500 supplement to NSERC USRA holders enrolled at an eligible university in Quebec. The Faculty of Science does not guarantee your eligibility for this or an equivalent supplement. Students registered at a university outside Quebec (summer "visitors" whose home university is outside Quebec) are not expected to be eligible for the FRQNT supplement.

    Students must apply for the FRQNT supplement — this is a separate step from your NSERC USRA application.

    Before applying for the FRQNT supplement:

    • You will not be able to apply for the FRQNT supplement until you receive a letter (by email) from NSERC, and only if the NSERC letter invites you to apply for the FRQNT supplement: the FRQNT application requires a reference number from the NSERC letter.
    • The NSERC letter usually comes in July. This letter from NSERC in mid-summer is different from the letter from your department in late winter / early spring.

    Application tips:

    • Webpage: The French webpage may have more information than the English webpage.
    • Make sure you are looking at information about NSERC USRAs in Summer, and check the year! If you find a webpage with an application deadline in April or December, that is likely for NSERC USRAs held in the Fall or Winter term.
    • Application form and language: It opens in French by default. If you prefer to apply in English, you may use the “English/Français” language toggle near the top right before you log in. If this year's English-language application form is the same as 2021, it may still require a few parts in French, such as your project title. If your French is not strong, your supervisor or lab group may be able to help.
    • Deadline date and time: August 31 at 16:00 EDT. Plan for your application to be fully completed and submitted well before that time, not still in progress.


    • We expect that the results will be communicated by the FRQNT (directly to students) in the 4 weeks that follow their deadline.
    • Students will receive these supplements directly from the FRQNT, likely in September.

    Questions about the FRQNT supplements: please refer to their webpage, and please contact them directly. If you have contacted the FRQNT and still need help, please contact Victor Chisholm in the Faculty of Science.

  13. Questions? Clarification of eligibility? Special circumstances? Who is my USRA LO / Liaison Officer?

    For more information

    • For the FRQNT supplements, please refer to their webpage, and please contact them directly.
    • Please consult the department where you wish to apply (your proposed supervisor's department). Depending on the question, they may have to consult the Faculty of Science, and in some cases McGill will have to consult with NSERC.
    • For contacts, please refer to "Departmental contacts and deadlines" above.
    • Please reach out before you apply, or as soon as the issue arises.
    • On the NSERC website, you may find phrases like "refer to the USRA LO [Liaison Officer] at the institution where you would like to hold the award" for more information. At McGill, for the Faculty of Science, this also means to contact the appropriate individual from the "Departments..." section.
    • Please note that if you or your supervisor are not eligible for an NSERC USRA, you may still be eligible for a Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA).
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