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Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA): NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR


The Acadia USRA program provides students with intensive research and/or creative activity experience from May until August.

Students receive an award to conduct their own project. Projects may be completed on campus, in community, or at another university, depending on the nature of the project.

Many students use this as an opportunity to work towards their Honours thesis, while others may use this as an opportunity to explore research and creative work, and/or develop critical thinking, writing, and problem-solving skills in an independent project in collaboration with a faculty supervisor.

Deadline: February 13, 2024

Value: $8,500 for 16 weeks


How do I apply?

Before you submit your application, you must find a supervisor. Meet with them to discuss your interests, their interests, and their willingness to be your supervisor.

Prepare your application package:

There are three parts to the USRA application. To complete the required online USRA application sections (Parts I and II), .   

Part 1: Form 202鈥 Application for an Undergraduate Student Research Award (Student to complete)

Regardless of the granting agency, you must create your application using the NSERC online system and select the agency whose mandate (NSERC, CIHR or SSHRC) aligns best with your field of research (health, natural sciences and engineering, social sciences, and humanities).

NOTE: CIHR and SSHRC USRAs are, at the present time, exclusively for Black student researchers; to be considered, you must self-identify as Black.

Part II: Form 202 鈥 Application for an Undergraduate Student Research Award (Research Supervisor to complete)

  • Please read all online instructions carefully. If not already in the NSERC system, register as a New User.
  • Applicants must upload official, up-to-date transcripts of all university records (including Acadia transcript) with the online application.
  • Ensure transcripts are scanned as a black and white printed document and, whenever possible, in portrait style, clear, and include a copy of the grade scale information (usually found on the back of the document).

Part III: Acadia Form Research Aptitude/Potential

This section needs to be completed by both student and supervisor. Please complete the Part III form found here. Once complete, the supervisor should email the form to researchoffice@acadiau.ca.


USRA Evaluation Criteria:

The USRA committee will use the following criteria to evaluate application:

The individual: 60%

  • Academic excellence (20%) 鈥 based on cumulative GPA from the most recent three semesters or equivalent (45 credits)
  • Research potential (20%) 鈥 based on the quality of analytical skills, ability to think critically, and ability to apply skills and knowledge
  • Academic preparation for the project and fit with the longer-term goals of the student (20%) 鈥 based on relevant courses completed, relevant co-curricular activities, relevant extracurricular activities, and improvement in GPA over time

The research proposal: 40%

  • Quality of the proposal (30%) 鈥 based on clarity, depth, and logic of the project, strength of research design and demonstrated facility with methodologies, originality and innovation, clear statement of the output and anticipated outcome, quality of the written material submitted, and student's independence
  • Supervisor/Mentor (10%) 鈥 based on evidence of an appropriate mentoring/training environment