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The 2022 NSERC USRA Program.

Award value increased last year:

• NSERC has increased the value of the award to $6,000. The supervisor and/or department must still contribute a minimum of 25% to the award value.

• Typcially, USRA award recipients are expected tow work full time (35 hours per week) for 16 weeks (from May 1 to August 31). Awards may not be deferred. 

• Should local public health recommendations allow, the preference is for USRAs to be held in person, but remote supervision will be allowed without additional justification to NSERC. Should the project allow, students who prefer to work remotely should not be penalized.

• NSERC will honour the full value of the award regardless of the length of the work term. A minimum supplement from the supervisor and/or department of at least 25% of the value of the award is still required.

The NSERC USRA provides undergraduate students the opportunity to work in a research lab during the summer.  Details of the program, including eligibility can be found at   

Each year the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences receives an allotment of NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA) from the Office of Research Services.  NSERC eligibility rules for supervisors have changed. Since 2020, supervisors are no longer required to hold an active grant when applying to supervise a USRA student. There are no restrictions on who can supervise a USRA student, provided the university deems the faculty member eligible to supervise students.

NSERC recommends that applications are evaluated by the following criteria:

    • Academic record of the applicant
    • Research aptitude of the applicant
    • Expected quality of the training to be received; may include suitability of supervision and research environment.

You will find a listing of DBMS Faculty and their research interests at: Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Faculty

To maintain an efficient, fair, transparent, and equitable process to both the applicants and the sponsoring principal investigators, the following guidelines are provided:


Please view the NSERC website for information regarding eligibility, the application form and instructions:  

Application Process

  1. Eligible students are first required to find a principal investigator who will sponsor their NSERC USRA application.
  1. Eligible principal investigators (i.e. DBMS faculty) can only sponsor one student applicant per year.
  1. The NSERC USRA website includes general information for students and fellows regarding the application process (


  1. Complete NSERC Form 202 – Part I (, print a hardcopy of your submission, and a copy/scan the forms to submit to the office with your supporting materials listed below.
  2. Generate a hardcopy/scan of an up-to-date unofficial transcript (if you are a Queen’s student).
  3. Briefly describe laboratory/research experience and future research-based goals (1-page maximum including 1 inch margins and 12 point font) and attach to the hardcopy/scan of your submission.

Sponsoring Principal Investigator:

  1. Complete NSERC Form 202 – Part II (, print a hardcopy, and submit on-line.
  2. For the Description of the Project in Part II, please be sure to write for non-experts, clearly define abbreviations, limit jargon, and clearly state a scientific rationale and hypothesis.
  3. Provide details of all current operating funding for the host lab (i.e. title, agency, amount/year; 1-page maximum with 1 inch margins and 12 point font). Details of non-operating grants (e.g. NSERC RTI or CFI) are not required.  Please enter all number 9's for the grant number for the online application.  
  4. The deadline for submitting an electronic copy of the full application package to the Life Sciences and Biochemistry Program Office to is February 25th, 2022 at 3pm.

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be considered when evaluating and ranking the applications:

  1. Academic excellence of the student applicant.
  2. Home institution of student applicant (ie. Queen’s or external).
  3. Laboratory/research-related experience and career goals of student applicant.
  4. Proposed Project.
  5. Currently held funding by host lab (i.e. NSERC funding relative to other sources of research-based operating funds).

*Incomplete applications or those for which guidelines have not been followed will not be considered.

Review Committee

The review committee will be comprised of three DBMS members who will review and rank the applications, one of which will chair the review committee.