Process Overview

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has a program to give you the chance to undertake undergraduate research experience through the Undergraduate Summer Research Award (USRA). USRAs are meant to nurture your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in the natural sciences and engineering. They are also meant to encourage you to undertake graduate studies in these fields. If you would like to gain research work experience that complements your studies in an academic setting, these awards can provide you with financial support through your host university.


Lassonde Undergraduate Student Research Award

The LURA program is designed to enhance the undergraduate student experience by providing a summer research experience at Lassonde School of Engineering. LURA will meet the increasing demands for:

  • Experiential education for students
  • Hands-on experience
  • Recruitment of domestic graduate students
  • Research intensification
  • Internationalization (the program is open to international students)
  • Potential to include research experience as part of the co-op experience
  • Inter-faculty connections as LURA will be open to all students at York who are eligible

Other programs available to Lassonde students are often based on demonstrated financial need (RAY and work-study) and in some cases they disqualify international students. This program will make the eligibility criteria broader to include all qualified students.

The two award competitions are run together:

The total value of the award is up to $8,000 for a full-time 16-week term.

  • The value of the award from the NSERC component is $4,500 for 16 consecutive weeks. Faculty members must pay the student at least 25% ($1,125) on top of this. If a student is selected from another university to hold their award at York, the supervisor will be responsible for paying at least $787.50 extra; i.e., 4% vacation pay and 10% for benefits. Travel allowance may also be available if applicable.

**NEW THIS YEAR: Lassonde will be supplementing the USRA award with an additional funding of up to $2,375. The total that students will be eligible to receive is $8,000 for the full term (16 weeks, full time)

  • The value of award from LURA includes a split between the sponsoring faculty member and the dean's office for up to $8,000


Applying for the Undergraduate Summer Research Award

Step 1: Speak with potential supervisors to learn about available projects

You must work under the supervision of a faculty member who is willing to sponsor you as a student. For NSERC USRA, the professor must hold (or will hold at the time of the award ) an active NSERC research grant. Speak to your professors to see if they are eligible and willing to support your application. Consult the project page for available projects but please note that not ALL professors advertise their summer projects so you are encouraged to contact professors directly.


Step 2: Prepare your application

There are a number of parts to the application. Application components for both LURA and USRA:

1. Application forms 202 (both Part I and Part II). The award application can be found on NSERC’s online system.

  • Application form 202 Part I (NSERC USRA online) completed by the student. A reference number will be generated when you begin filling in this form - this number must be forwarded to your supervisor. If you are an international student applying for a LURA award, to gain access to the forms on the NSERC USRA application portal, select 'Canadian Citizen'.
  • Application form 202 Part II (NSERC USRA online) completed by the professor

2. CV (2 page maximum)

3. Statement of research interest (one page maximum). Please click here for the template to be used and included as the first page in your application.

  • Provide examples of both your research interests and any previous experience with research projects either course-based or in a lab. You can include reasons for wanting to participate in a research project, as well as your future aspirations and career plans.

4. Transcript (Official Transcript must be submitted only by non-Lassonde students together with the application)


Step 3: Submit your application

The completed application form (Parts I and II) must be submitted to the Department where your supervisor is a faculty member (please check this with them) by February 27, 2017Applications must be submitted ELECTRONICALLY as one merged PDF file, along with ONE HARD COPY. Non-York applicants must order their transcripts from the Registrar’s Office to be sent directly to their potential supervisor at York by the above deadline. (At most Canadian institutions, transcripts issued directly to students are not considered official.) Transcripts for York students can be submitted/printed by the departments (please print the transcript, not a list of courses). All successful applicants will be instructed to attach their transcripts as PDF documents to their on-line applications at a later date.


Who to submit to:

Mechanical Engineering - Ruth Milton (, 437B Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence
Civil Engineering - Gillian Moore (, 337B Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence
Electrical Engineering & Computer Science - Whitney L'Esperance (, 1012S Lassonde Building (1012M if away from office)
Earth & Space Science & Engineering - Elise Shaw (, 102 Petrie Science & Engineering Building



Applications will be evaluated by an internal Lassonde committee and the following criteria will be considered as part of the evaluation:

60% GPA
30% Research Potential
10% Communication

* Research Potential will be evaluated based on the statement of research interest, research experience (described in the CV and statement of research interest), and anticipated contributions to the research project.

* Communication will be evaluated based on the clarity and presentation of the complete application.


Important details

  • Notification of awards will be issued in late March 2017 with a deadline for accept/reject to be determined.
  • Students must find a supervisor and submit the application in agreement with the professor upon their acceptance. Please note students should only submit one application with one professor. Some but not all projects are listed on under project summaries.
  • Recipients must devote their full time to research and are not permitted to take any additional summer employment (e..g. assistantships.). Recipients may be permitted to register for one degree credit course during the tenure of the award, outside of regular working hours. They may not hold more than three USRA awards during their university studies.



  • For USRA: Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents and must be registered as full-time students in an eligible bachelor degree program in the natural sciences or engineering. They must have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of a bachelor's degree by the beginning of the NSERC grant.
  • Additionally, the program is open to any full time undergraduate students at York or at another university, who meet the project and eligibility requirements. For example, Faculty of Science or Health full-time undergraduate students who fit the criteria for the specific research project can apply.
  • For LURA: applicants do not have to be Canadian Citizens to apply.
  • For USRA only, students must work under the supervision of a faculty member who holds an active NSERC research grant (research, collaborative opportunities or collaborative health, genomics, research partnerships) either at the time of application, or when the award is held. All full time faculty at Lassonde can apply for a LURA project.
  • Candidates who hold higher degrees in natural sciences or engineering, or are candidates for an undergraduate professional degree in health sciences (e.g. M.D., D.D.S., B.Sc.N.) are not eligible. Female applicants are especially encouraged to apply.
  • In continuation of its incentive for Aboriginal undergraduate students to pursue graduate studies and research careers in the natural sciences and engineering, NSERC asks each university to actively promote the availability of the USRAs to qualified Aboriginal students. Awards that are made to Aboriginal students will be in addition to the university’s quota of awards.
  • Every award recipient will be required to participate and present their research project in the Undergraduate Summer Research Conference held in the beginning of August. More details to follow.



When completing Form 202 Part II – Proposed Location of Tenure and Research Project (to be completed by the proposed supervisor), keep these items in mind:

  1. Proposed starting date of award: April 28, 2017 will be the suggested start date for all awardees. August 15, 2017 will be the end date for the complete 16 weeks. Those dates can be flexible as long as the total project duration is 16 weeks.
  2. Proposed Research Project: The specific, detailed research proposal must include the student’s role in the project. This section is evaluated as well.
  3. Research Subject Code: This must be from the list located at:
  4. Grant Application Number: This refers to the grant number of the letter from NSERC that the faculty member receives when they are notified that their grant is successful (NOT their budget #).
  5. Personal Identification Number: This is the faculty member’s NSERC PIN.


For more information, see the attached memo.