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The 2021 NSERC USRA Program information is not available at this time. 

Queen's Reserach Services has indicated that the Summer NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA) will be happening for 2021!

We hope to have more information on the NSERC USRA 2021 process in March, 2021 so stay tuned!

Information from last year's process is outlined below for your information.

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 last year's link: 

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. This means that faculty with salary funded through a CFREF or CERC are now eligible. 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:


Students applying for a NSERC USRA must meet the eligibility requirements outlined by NSERC (

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, and submit on-line.
  2. Generate a hardcopy 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).

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 a hardcopy of the full application package to the Life Sciences and Biochemistry Program Office (Rm 815 Botterell Hall) is 3:00pm on February 26th.

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.