The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) have each introduced their respective Black Student Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs) program.
Modelled on NSERC's USRA program, the goal of both CIHR and SSHRC’s program is to provide research experience that complements the degree program that undergraduate students are pursuing, which may lead them to consider graduate studies careers in the fields of health and life sciences (CIHR) or the social sciences and humanities (SSHRC).
Applications for 2023 are now closed. Check back in Winter 2024 for details about the 2024 call for applications. For your reference, you can review last year’s application criteria and instructions below.
7,500 in total value, with $6,000 from the funding agency and a mandatory top-up of a minimum of $1,500 from the faculty supervisor’s research funds. Any supplement above this level may be set at the discretion of the department or the USRA supervisor.
The duration is 16 full consecutive weeks during the Summer Term between May 1 to September 1, 2023.
Requirements for Students
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.
- Self-identify as Black on the online application form.
- Be registered full-time or part-time (at the time of application) in a bachelors degree program in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award.
- Obtained a cumulative average of at least a B or B-.
- At the time of application, have completed a minimum of two academic terms. First-year students are not eligible.
- Graduating students may apply if they have not graduated by the application deadline or started graduate school during the award tenure period. U of T students can hold a USRA in the summer immediately following their final spring term.
- Must work on a full-time basis on research and development activities during the award tenure.
Requirements for Faculty Supervisors
- Can independently supervise students, as per their appointment with the university.
- Meets CIHR eligibility or SSHRC eligibility to hold research grants (see Applicant).
- Postdoctoral fellows and graduate/PhD students are not eligible to be supervisors.
Notes to Consider
- Award holders should not receive academic credits for research work completed during the USRA work term. Thesis research during the award term is not permitted.
- Award holders may be enrolled in a maximum of two courses (1.0 FCE) during the summer with their supervisor’s permission.
- A student may hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) and a maximum of three USRAs throughout their university career.
- USRAs do not include provisions for paid vacation days.
- Travel allowances are not permitted under the USRA program. Any costs of fieldwork and related expenses (including travel) are ineligible.
- The award cannot be deferred.
Application Deadline & Process
For 2024: Information on how to apply for the CIHR & SSHRC Black USRAs will be announced in Winter 2024. Please check back for more details.
PDF applications must be submitted to Jennifer Banh, Undergraduate Research and International Experience Coordinator (URIE@engineering.utoronto.ca) by March 30, 2023, at 9 a.m. (ET).
How to Apply
CIHR and SSHRC Black Student USRA applications are completed on NSERC’s online system. First-time users will need to register. Applicants need to choose either CIHR or SSHRC when completing the application.
The application is comprised of the following three components:
- Student application (Form 202 Part I)
- A copy of the student’s academic history from ACORN (to be attached to the student application Form 202 Part I)
- Faculty Supervisor Application (Form 202 Part II)
Both Form 202 Part I and II and the student’s academic history print-out from ACORN must be exported into a single PDF by the faculty supervisor and submitted to Jennifer Banh, Undergraduate Research and International Experience Coordinator (URIE@engineering.utoronto.ca) by March 30, 2023, at 9 a.m. (ET).
Steps for Students
- Complete Form 202 Part I (student’s application) online via NSERC. You will have to log in or create a new account through their online system. Refer to the online instructions for guidance. Please adhere to NSERC’s General Presentation Guideline. Handwritten applications are not accepted.
- Identify whether this application is for CIHR or SSHRC based on the field of study that most closely aligns with either agency’s mandate.
- Be sure to complete the self-identification section in Part I of Form 202.
- Download your most recent academic history from ACORN as a PDF and attach it with your Form 202 Part I application.
- Once Form 202 Part I has been completed, provide the faculty supervisor with your reference number, which is generated automatically in the student application. The faculty supervisor must input this reference number into their application to link the student and faculty applications together.
Steps for Faculty Supervisors
- Once the student has completed Form 202 Part I online on NSERC’s system, they must provide you with the reference number generated by the system. You will not be able to complete Part II of Form 202 online without the reference number.
- Complete Form 202 Part II (faculty’s application) online via NSERC. You will have to log in or create a new account through their online system.
- Once Form 202 has been completed, you must go back to the My Portfolio page and select "Verify," which will assess whether all required information has been entered. Once verification is complete, the status of the application will change to "Completed."
- Export the completed application (both Form 202 Part I and II and the student’s academic history) into a single PDF and submit this to Jennifer Banh, Undergraduate Research and International Experience Coordinator (URIE@engineering.utoronto.ca) by March 30, 2023, at 9 a.m. (ET).
Note: No changes should be made to the form after the status of the application has been changed to “Completed.” If you need to update any information, contact the NSERC Online Services Helpdesk. Once both parts of the form have been completed and verified, any additional changes made by either party (student or faculty supervisor) will require the other party’s verification and confirmation in the online system.