NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards Program

If you are an undergraduate student enrolled in a bachelor's degree program with an interest in working on research and development projects at a University, you may be eligible to apply for an Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA). Through these awards, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) subsidizes eligible faculty members to hire students to work on a full-time basis on their research projects. These awards can be held in the summer term (May 1 – August 31).

Deadline for NSERC-USRA Applications to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences Summer 2023 Competition:  February 28, 2023, 4:00 p.m. PST

Who is eligible?

  • In order to qualify for these awards, students must reside in Canada for the entirety of the term due to regulations and restrictions set out by UBC.
  • Please familiarize yourself with the award and the eligibility requirements through the information found on the UBC NSERC USRA webpage.
  • Students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate professional degree program in the health sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, BScN, PharmD), or hold higher degrees in the natural sciences or engineering, are not eligible to apply.
  • Please note that eligible USRA supervisors in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences are no longer required to hold an eligible and active NSERC grant.
  • Potential supervisors must ensure that their proposed project is eligible for NSERC funding by referring to NSERC’s eligibility guidelines.

How to apply?

Step 1 - Find a supervisor: Students are responsible for seeking out and identifying faculty supervisors by reaching out to them directly before filling in an application. Applications are submitted by supervisor-student teams.

Step 2: Complete and submit your application electronically through the NSERC online system. Once you and your potential supervisor have agreed to apply for the program as a team, the two of you will need to work together to complete and submit one application online through the NSERC portal. Both Faculty supervisors and students must complete NSERC’s USRA Application Form 202 by clicking on “On-line System Login” or, if you are a first-time user, “Register”.

  • Form 202 Part I is completed by the student. The student must initiate Form 202 Part I and provide the reference number to the supervisor to complete Part II;
  • Form 202 Part II is completed by the supervisor.
  • Please refer to the NSERC USRA Form 202 Checklist for Common Errors 2022-23 to ensure you have completed the form correctly.

Step 3: Complete additional application documents. 

  1. Current curriculum vitae highlighting your education, awards/honours, skills, and science-related experience.
  2. Student statement of interest outlining research interests and goals. The student must submit a detailed letter describing (1-page maximum, double spaced, 12-point font):
    • Why you want to do this research project;
    • Previous research/work experience (can include co-op terms and previous research awards);
    • Relevance of work experience and academic training to the proposed field of research;
    • Enthusiasm for research, relevant community involvement and outreach;
    • How this research project relates to your plans following the completion of your undergraduate degree.
  3. To be completed by the supervisor:  describe the mentoring plan and training environment to be provided to the student including statements regarding student engagement.

Step 4: Assemble complete application package. Complete applications require the following components:

  1. Downloaded PDF copy of your application from the NSERC portal (Form 202 Part I and Part II, as well as the student’s transcripts).
  2. Curriculum vitae.
  3. Student statement of interest.
  4. Supervisor completed mentoring plan and training to be received.

Step 5: Submit your application. Create a single pdf file composed of the three documents outlined above (Step 4) and email it to Litsa Blanis at pharmsci.ssrp@ubc.ca. Name this file Student Last Name, First Name – NSERC USRA 2023 application. Signatures are not required as part of the Faculty of Pharm Sci application process.


  • December: Launch of Faculty of Pharm Sci NSERC-USRA Summer 2023 competition.
  • February 28, 2023, 4:00 p.m. PST: Faculty of Pharm Sci NSERC-USRA Application Deadline
  • March: Pharm Sci NSERC-USRA Committee meets to review and rank applications.
  • First week of April: Notice of Decisions are distributed to applicants.
  • May - August: Term of the award.