How to Apply for USRA and SURA Awards

There are two competitive programs of paid employment for science undergraduate students interested in conducting research projects with faculty members in the Faculty of Science:

• the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA), which is a national award; and

• the Faculty of Science Undergraduate Research Award (SURA)

Student Eligibility

NSERC USRAs:

• Students must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada

• Applicants must be registered in an eligible undergraduate bachelor's degree program

• Award employment must be done in the Faculty of Science (St. John's campus) with the exception of Faculty of Medicine NSERC USRA awards (see below)

• Applicants with Indigenous status will be automatically granted a NSERC USRA award given they meet the minimum program requirements

• Students must have a cumulative average of at least second class (a grade of "B" or "B-,") as defined by Memorial

• Students may hold no more than three (3) USRAs during their undergraduate degree

• Students may not be working on an honours thesis during the semester for which they hold an NSERC USRA, and the research must be distinct from their honours thesis

• Students may not be enrolled in, or have completed, a graduate degree in the natural sciences or engineering

Faculty of Science SURAs:

• All students (Canadian and International) are eligible

• SURA recipients must be registered in a B.Sc. program at Memorial University (St. John’s campus)

• Award employment must be done in the Faculty of Science (St. John's campus)

• Students must have a cumulative average of at least second class (a grade of "B" or "B-,") as defined by Memorial

Note: Students must have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program. 

Faculty of Medicine NSERC USRA Awards

• There are a limited number of awards available for students to take with supervisors in the Faculty of Medicine

• Students interested in taking one of these awards should apply through the Faculty of Science NSERC USRA/SURA competition (same deadlines apply)

• Applicants must clearly indicate on their cover sheet that they are applying for a Faculty of Medicine NSERC USRA

• Applicants will not be eligible to work with Faculty of Medicine supervisor unless they apply for Faculty of Medicine NSERC USRA

• Students applying for a Faculty of Medicine NSERC USRA must also indicate which Department within the Faculty of Science they would consider taking their award, should Faculty of Medicine awards be unavailable

Supervisor’s Eligibility

• Supervisors must contribute a minimum of $2,150 for each award

• For SURA awards, supervisors must be a faculty member with the Faculty of Science (the supervisor portion of the award can be paid from any grant).

• For NSERC USRA awards, faculty members are not required to hold an active tri-agency research grant (the supervisor portion of the award can be paid from any grant).

Deadline:
Wednesday, Feb. 9th, 2022 at 9 a.m.

*Applications will be accepted at the beginning of the winter 2022 semester.

Application procedures for NSERC USRA and Faculty of Science SURA programs

All Science students applying for the NSERC USRA must complete the cover sheet, include their most recent transcript (including fall 2021 semester) and Form 202 (Part 1) by email to science@mun.ca. Completion of the three pieces for the application will allow the student to be considered for both the NSERC-USRA and Faculty of Science SURA awards. **International students do not need to complete Form 202 (Part I) as they are ineligible for the NSERC-USRA.

For instructions on how to complete Form 202 (Part I), students should refer to the NSERC website or contact Jessica Whelan (jessica.whalen@mun.ca). If you have not previously used the NSERC portal, you can create an account here

Application Checklist

Form 202, Part I (NSERC-USRA applications only - to be completd by the applicant.)

□ Unofficial university transcripts including Fall 2021 grades (USRA and SURA)

Cover Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Applicants must send the cover sheet, including their most recent transcript and Form 202 (Part I) by email to science@mun.ca. If a student is eligible for only the Faculty of Science SURA, Form 202 (Part I) does not have to be completed. Students who meet eligibility criteria for both the USRA and SURA programs will be considered for both awards. 

Employment conditions for the SURA are exactly the same as for an NSERC USRA. The USRA is only available for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, while the SURA is open to both Canadian and International students.

The tenure of the award is 16 weeks on a full-time basis (35 hours/week), and the awards are usually taken in the spring/summer semester.

NSERC USRA awards can be deferred to another semster given the student will still meet the eligibility requirements; however, SURA awards cannot be deferred.

A supervisor is not required for application submission, but students may identify a supervisor they wish to work with on the application form cover sheet. If you are awarded a USRA/SURA will we help you identify a supervisor that corresponds with your research interests.

These positions are intended to be full-time (35 hours/week), and it is the responsibility of the supervisor and the student to establish normal working hours. Recipients are not permitted to hold a second position at Memorial while holding a USRA/SURA.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the USRA and SURA can be taken remotely or on campus depending on the nature of the work. It is the responsibility of the student and supervisor to establish the expectations of the award work.
Note: This may change as the university updates its policies for students on campus.

This award is intended to be a full-time research position, therefore students are only permitted to take one course (with permission from their supervisor) while completing their USRA/SURA.

USRA/SURA recipients are not permitted to take an honors thesis course while completing their award. They may take an honors thesis course in the term before or after they complete their award but not during, as these awards are full-time resarch positions.

All students registered in an eligible undergraduate program can apply to hold an NSERC USRA at Memorial, even if they are currently enrolled at a different institution. Similarily, if a Memorial student wishes to take a USRA at another institution they must apply directly to that institution to receive one of their award allocations. The Faculty of Science SURAs are only available to current Memorial students. 

Allocation of vacation for students during the award is to be determined between the supervisor and the student, but award recipients may be required to make up this time.