NSERC-Undergraduate Semester in Research Award

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NSERC-Undergraduate Semester in Research Award

Post  CHo05 on Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:13 pm

For students interested in research opportunities in the natural sciences and engineering:

The Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) is a national funding agency that sponsors research in the natural sciences and engineering. Chances are, many of science professors at university receive funding from this behemoth.

Their Undergraduate Semester in Research Award (USRA) provide an opportunity for undergraduate university students to spend 16 weeks conducting a research project with an NSERC-funded supervisor. The level of independence varies from supervisor to supervisor, but you are generally expected to carry out most of the project yourself after an initial discussion with your supervisor about potential projects.

You must select a NSERC-funded supervisor from a university. The supervisor can be from your own university or from another university, and it is best to just ask outright whether they are NSERC-funded and would consider your candidacy. Each school and department is allocated a certain number of USRAs to award, and each university and department has its own guidelines and regulations in selecting candidates for the USRAs. Check with the department your supervisor is in to see the guidelines for USRAs that will apply to you. In general, it is heavily GPA-based, though other factors such as a personal statement may apply depending on the school. Once you and your supervisor complete your application and write up your project proposal (your supervisor will help a lot here. This award is, after all, for students with little research experience), the department will consider your candidacy. If they agree to sponsor you, they will forward your application to NSERC, which (usually) will agree to sponsor your project. A cool sidenote: at this point you register alongside many famous and distinguished researchers in the NSERC database.

This award will be held for 16 weeks, and NSERC will agree to pay you $4500 over that period. The supervisor must also agree to paying you at least 25% of the award value for a total of roughly $5600. Some professors are quite generous in this area and will pay you more than the minimum.

A link to the national guidelines for the NSERC USRA can be found here
http://www.nserc.gc.ca/sf_e.asp?nav=sfnav&lbi=1a

There is also an industrial version of the USRA, which allows you to conduct research in an industrial environment with a supervisor from the industry. Information can be found here, though I am not familiar with it myself:

http://www.nserc.gc.ca/sf_e.asp?nav=sfnav&lbi=1b

CHo05
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Re: NSERC-Undergraduate Semester in Research Award

Post  OPierce05 on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:12 pm

So I heard trade students are making $20 an hour right off the bat Very Happy

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Re: NSERC-Undergraduate Semester in Research Award

Post  CHo05 on Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:03 pm

I know Pierce, but strangely enough, that hasn't stopped you from applying (and earning) an NSERC-USRA award.

See you in the lab in May Very Happy

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