FoM NSERC USRA 2024 Info Session

Watch the 2024 Info Session recording here

Deadline: February 29, 2024. Applications now closed.

Would you like to get some research experience in an academic setting?

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). The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) subsidizes eligible professors to hire students on their research projects, thereby creating interesting research-related jobs and giving you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

How do you find USRA positions in the Faculty of Medicine?

Try to create your own research opportunity by contacting eligible professors you would like to work with and tell them about this program. Many professors will be happy to talk to you about the opportunity to hire you at a subsidized wage. See our Student Research website for tips on how to contact a supervisor.

UBC and the Faculty of Medicine believe that sustained excellence in research, education and engagement depends on the integration of diverse perspectives and approaches and the inclusion of those who have been historically, persistently or systemically marginalized. We are committed to ensuring equitable consideration is given to all applicants.

Who is eligible to be an NSERC USRA supervisor?

Current holders of active NSERC grants on this list, both PI’s and co-PI’s, are eligible to act as NSERC USRA supervisors. Here is the list of eligible FoM supervisors for 2024. A supervisor may submit only one NSERC USRA application to the Faculty of Medicine competition each year.

Potential supervisors must ensure that their proposed project is eligible for NSERC funding by referring to NSERC’s eligibility guidelines.

Pathways for Indigenous and Black student researchers

As in previous years, additional NSERC USRAs are available for students who identify as Indigenous and meet all eligibility requirements. Supervisors must be on the eligibility list for the Faculty of Medicine. Please follow the process outlined below.

Additional NSERC USRAs are available for students who identify as Black and meet all eligibility requirements. Supervisors must be on the eligibility list for the Faculty of Medicine. Please follow the process outlined below.

UBC has received a small number of CIHR-USRAs and SSHRC-USRAs for students who identify as Black, meet all eligibility requirements, and will be pursuing research projects related to health (CIHR) or to social sciences and humanities (SSHRC). Supervisors do not need to be on the eligibility list. Please follow the process outlined below if you are applying with a supervisor in the Faculty of Medicine. Additional details on these new pathways are available on the UBC website and NSERC website.

Program Guidelines

Complete Information about the NSERC-USRA is available at:

UBC Student Services Website
NSERC Website
Information for students (PDF)
Information for supervisors (PDF)
List of subject codes: NSERC – Research Subject Codes for Scholarships and Fellowships (PDF)
List of eligible FoM supervisors for 2024
List of eligible research grants for 2024
Common Errors checklist (PDF)
Application Instructions for 2024 (PDF)

Application Process

Deadline for Applications to the Faculty of Medicine: February 29, 2024. Applications now closed.  

Application Portal

We use an electronic submission process for the internal ranking of the applications submitted through our Faculty. Please follow the instructions below:

  1. Find a student/supervisor partner. Applications are submitted by student-supervisor teams.
  2. Student-supervisor teams work together to complete NSERC’s application on the NSERC portal.
    • DO NOT “submit to LO”. Successful applicants will be directed to complete this step after their application has been checked for errors by the FoM Faculty Coordinator.
    • The review process will be blind so do not use names or gender specific pronouns in the Outline of proposed research or Expected quality of training sections.
  3. Download a PDF copy of your application from the NSERC portal (includes form 202-I, 202-II and student transcripts). Name this file Student Last Name, First Name – NSERC application files. Signatures are not required as part of your FoM application.
  4. Complete the Excel GPA_template to calculate the student’s GPA for all post-secondary courses. Name this file as Student Last Name, First Name – NSERC GPA. To convert letter grades to percentage grades use this template.
  5. Download a copy of the one-page CV template and fill it out with the details of your previous publications, conference presentations, research positions, and academic awards (include a url for any award that is not listed on your transcripts). Name this file as Student Last Name, First Name – NSERC CV.
  6. Review the Common Errors checklist – marks are subtracted for errors.
  7. Complete the FoM NSERC USRA application on the FoM NSERC USRA submission portal.
    • The additional information requested is required for processing of your application.
    • Upload all files when requested. Ensure you use the naming conventions requested above.
  8. You will receive an automatic email confirming your submission.
  9. If you have read all of the above material, and you still have questions, please contact your Faculty Coordinator (Dr. Ipek Oruc) or the FoM NSERC USRA support team at fom.nserc.usra@ubc.ca.

Faculty of Medicine NSERC USRA FAQ’s

Q: How much is the student stipend for 2024?

A: $9,755.20 for 16-weeks of full-time work.

Q: Can I submit more than one application?

A: No. Supervisors are only permitted to submit one application with one student and students are only permitted to submit one application with one supervisor. If you are contacted by more than one eligible student, please help the additional student to find a supervisor among your colleagues. This could be someone on the list of eligible supervisors for the NSERC USRA competition. Indigenous and Black students are guaranteed an NSERC USRA if the student and supervisor meet all eligibility requirements. For Black students only, you could also direct them to one of your colleagues conducting CIHR or SSHRC-type research.

Q: Can I apply for a research project that is less than 16-weeks?

A: We strongly encourage supervisors to apply with 16-week research proposals. That said, shorter works terms (less than 14 weeks) are subject to exception approval from NSERC prior to submission.

Q: Can I apply if I’m not on the eligible supervisors list for 2024?

A: The NSERC-USRAs are restricted to supervisors on the eligible list. We have few awards for a large pool of candidates and as such will not be taking applications from supervisors who are not on the eligible list.

The CIHR- and SSHRC-USRA’s are open to all supervisors who are eligible to supervise undergraduate research at UBC. Only students who self-identify as Black or Black multiracial, and identify with Black ancestry are eligible for these awards. The proposed research project must fit with the mandate of the selected federal granting agency (supervisors are responsible for selecting the correct agency: https://science.gc.ca/site/science/en/interagency-research-funding/policies-and-guidelines/selecting-appropriate-federal-granting-agency).

Q: How do I know if my project is eligible for NSERC USRA funding?

A: Please consult NSERC’s eligibility guidelines. Attend our information session on Feb 6 if you are still unsure.

Q: As a supervisor, how much am I required to top-up funding for 2024?

A: To meet minimum wage standards in BC, the minimum full funding amount for 16-weeks of full-time work is $9,755.20. NSERC provides $6,000, so supervisors will need to provide at least $3,755.20 in top-up funding.

Q: Can I apply if I’m a first-year student?

A: Technically you are eligible to apply if you are currently registered in your second term of university studies, but we don’t encourage applications. This is because an important adjudication criterion is research experience and first-year students are usually just beginning to acquire this. In addition, your final eligibility cannot be confirmed until your term 2 grades are available, which happens after the start of most summer projects. For these reasons, applications from first-year students are typically ranked at the bottom and are unlikely to be funded. If you would like additional information, please email the coordinator at fom.nserc.usra@ubc.ca