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Undergraduate Student Research Awards

NSERC acknowledges 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. Therefore, for the 2022 review process, NSERC will not immediately 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 NSERC 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.
  • NSERC may contact administrative staff (liaison officers or equivalent) at your institution(s) in order 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 program description in the program guide for students and fellows before you complete the application.

Refer to the frequently asked questions for applicants and proposed research supervisors for more information.

Form 202 consists of Part I and Part II. You must complete Part I, and Part II must be completed by the proposed research supervisor.

Important: Form 202 must be submitted electronically.

Presentation standards

In 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.

Personal information

The collection, use and disclosure of personal information provided to NSERC is outlined in the following policy statements:

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act. NSERC is subject to the This link will take you to another Web site Access to Information Act and the This link will take you to another Web site Privacy Act. The information you provide is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in This link will take you to another Web site Information about programs and information holdings.

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 the staff responsible for the program for other questions.

Help with the NSERC online system

Completing and submitting the application Part I

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.

Completing the application – Part I

Application profile

Complete the required fields.

Personal profile

Personal identification number

All NSERC applicants have received, or will receive, an NSERC personal identification number (PIN). Refer to your PIN each time you apply for an award and in future correspondence with NSERC. If you have not previously applied to NSERC, leave the field blank and a PIN will automatically be assigned by the online system. If you have previously applied to NSERC and do not remember your PIN, contact the online services helpdesk. 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.

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:

  • Institutions are permitted to recommend an unlimited number of self-identified Indigenous* applicants to the USRA program above their application quota. To be considered for this, Indigenous applicants 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.

Consent to sharing information

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 NSERC 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. Include NSERC 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 included above, and have been provided to you by the LO, will be accepted for USRA applications even if they are labelled unofficial.
  • NSERC may require that official, original documents be provided after the completed application has been submitted to NSERC.

Submitting the application – Part I

Once you have completed all the pages:

  • Click on the Portfolio page and select Verify to ensure that all the required information has been entered
  • Once the verification is completed, the online system generates a reference number for Form 202, Part I
  • Provide the reference number assigned to your application to your proposed research supervisor
  • The proposed research supervisor must enter the reference number on Form 202, Part II, in order for the system to link the two parts into a complete application; Form 202 is then 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
  • Research supervisors should select Forms — Researcher from the list under Forms management
  • Select Form 202, Part II, and enter the applicant’s family name and reference number; by entering the reference number on Form 202, Part II, the system will link the two parts to form a complete application
  • Complete the required modules

Completing the application – Part II

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.

Enter the research subject code that best describes the proposed area of research. For a complete list of these codes, consult the list of research subject codes for scholarships and fellowships.

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

Research supervisor profile

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. Refer to your PIN or CPI each time you apply for an award and in future correspondence with NSERC. If you do not remember your PIN or CPI, contact the online services helpdesk. Return to the eConsole page, select Maintain user profile and enter your PIN. It will then appear on the Research supervisor profile page of the application.

If you have not previously applied to NSERC, leave the field blank and a PIN will automatically be assigned by the online system.

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 related to a field in the natural sciences and/or engineering. Briefly specify the student’s role. Incorporating diversity considerations, including but not limited to sex (biological), gender (socio-cultural), 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 members during review.

NSERC acknowledges 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 document: Equity, diversity and inclusion considerations at each stage of the research process.

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 the application – Part II

Once you have completed all the pages:

  • 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; you should not make any changes to this form once it is completed
  • The proposed research supervisor must submit the form to the LO at the institution by selecting Submit to LO—note that the research supervisor is also submitting on behalf of the applicant, as the submission also includes Part I completed by the applicant
  • If you need to update any information, contact the LO

Intellectual property policy

Note that NSERC’s intellectual property policy does not apply to USRA. Refer to the institution’s intellectual property regulations in effect for USRA.

Signatures

NSERC does not require original signatures on applications or other documents submitted electronically through its 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