Awards and Scholarships

Contact Scholarships, Awards, and Financial Support for further information on the following undergraduate awards:

Henry Hearn Memorial Scholarship in Plant Biology

Lakshmi Memorial Scholarship

Bill Paranchych Memorial Scholarship

William Rowan Memorial Prizes

Luc Barton Memorial Scholarship Science

An Outstanding Research in Genetics Prize

A Laurence and Cec Chevalier Undergraduate Scholarship in Plant Biology

Dr. David Schindler Undergraduate Scholarship in Environmental Science 

Contact the Undergraduate Research Initiative for further information on the following undergraduate award:

Alberta Innovates Summer Studentship

Contact the Department of Biological Sciences for further information on the following awards:

Donald W. Clarke Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

This award has been established by Patricia Clarke in memory of her husband Donald W. Clarke, BSc '41, MSc '43.

Eligibility: Open to full-time, non-graduating undergraduate students in Biological Sciences who would like to undertake a summer research project in animal physiology or developmental biology. Students may not hold this award simultaneously with either an NSERC or AIHS summer award.

Value: $6000 (plus top-up)

How to Apply

Step 1 Find a faculty mentor in the Department of Physiology or the Department of Biological Sciences and discuss your potential research project.

Step 2 Prepare your documents:

  • A research proposal that specifies your role and how the training value fits into your future career plan.  
  • University Transcript. 
  • The mentor must sign a statement on the application indicating he/she is prepared to subsidize this $2400 award (minimum).

Preference will be given to the proposal that offers the best training opportunity. Your academic record will be considered but will not be the sole selection criterion. This award may be unavailable in some years; when the award is available, the application deadline and further application instructions will be posted here by the start of the summer semester. 

Application Deadline: 4: 00 pm Friday, March 22, 2024 

Organization of Botany Students Award

Field of Study: Botany

Value: $400

Number: 1

Conditions: Awarded annually to an undergraduate student who has taken one Botany course in Plant Biology and has achieved a minimum Grade Point Average of 2.3. The award shall be based on contribution to the Botany Department and involvement in the activities of the Organization of Botany students. This award may be given to a full-time student taking less than a full normal course load. Preference will be given to students in the Plant Biology program.

Donor: The Organization of Botany Students.

Apply: The Selection Committee of the Organization of Botany Students by March 1.


Available to students in their fourth year of an eligible undergraduate program (and to first year graduate students) who intend to pursue in the following year full-time graduate studies at the masters or in some cases the doctoral level in one of the areas of the Natural Sciences or Engineering. Applicant must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada. Apply directly to NSERC. Information and application forms (FORM 201) can be found on the NSERC website.

Requirements: GPA of at least 3.5 in each of the last two completed years of study.

Value: $17,500 (for one year).

NSERC Deadline: December 1, 2020

NSERC Summer Studentship (USRA)

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Student Research Awards are intended to stimulate interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering and to encourage students to undertake graduate studies and pursue research careers in these fields.

 Application Open: Applications are available online at the NSERC website in January.

Closing Deadline: Biological Sciences Department: February 14th, 2024.

VALUE: $6000 full-time work for 16 weeks, plus supervisor’s contribution.



 Candidates must:

  • be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or a Protected Person under subsection 95(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada), as of the deadline date for applications at the institution
  • be registered, as of the deadline date for applications at the institution, in a bachelor’s degree program at an eligible institution
  • have obtained, over the previous years of study, at least a B- average 
  • not be currently enrolled in an undergraduate professional degree program in the health sciences (e.g., MD, DDS, BScN) 
  • not be currently registered or have been previously registered, at any time, in a graduate program in the same field of study
  • not have completed all your degree requirements at the time of application

In addition

  • if you already hold a bachelor’s degree and are studying toward a second bachelor’s degree, you may still apply for this award
  • you may hold only one USRA per fiscal year (April 1 to March 31)
  • you may hold a maximum of three USRAs throughout your undergraduate career (regardless of the granting agency)

To hold an award

  • you must have completed all course requirements for at least the first year of study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor’s degree
  • you must have been registered in a bachelor’s degree program at the time of application and in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award
  • you must be working full-time in eligible research and development activities in your proposed field of research during the tenure of the award
  • you cannot be registered in a graduate program


  • You may hold an award at any time during the year as permitted by your academic program.
  • Tenure may start on a date acceptable to both you and your host institution.
  • The majority of students hold their NSERC awards in the summer term (May to August), but these awards are also tenable for September to December or January to April terms (the student can only take a maximum of one credit course while holding a USRA). Students applying for the fall or winter terms should state that on their application.



 Step 1: Interested students should begin by contacting potential supervisors to discuss research projects and the USRA application process.

 Supervisors interested in supporting undergraduate research are encouraged to contact qualified students to discuss projects and the USRA application process. (Note: Students in the general science program have not received this announcement but are encouraged to apply).

 Step 2:

 Applications must be completed electronically via the NSERC On-line System Login. View the NSERC USRA Application Information for details on procedures and required information to complete the application. 

 Applications require submissions of both the applicant and the supervisor of the student. 

 The student will complete Form 202 Part I – Application for an Undergraduate Student Research Award.

 Using a reference number provided by the student, the supervisor will complete Form 202 Part II – Application for an Undergraduate Student Research Award in University.

 Official transcripts of all post-secondary studies (all institutions you have attended) are required and must be uploaded by applicants.

*NEW* Applicants must submit a 500-word (max) document outlining your “past roles and future interests in research”, including,

  1. Any past roles in a research setting (excluding coursework), including the time spent in each different role (e.g. volunteer/employed in fieldwork, lab benchwork, literature review etc.) and outlining the duties/tasks performed. And,
  2. How an NSERC USRA award will advance your interest and fully develop your potential for a research career in the natural sciences. And, 
  3. Describe your plans for a research career.

Step 3:

 SUBMIT .pdf copies of all application materials along with your online application reference number directly to by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, February 14th, 2024. This can be done by the student and/or supervisor. 

 Application materials include .pdf files of:

  1. Form 202 Part I
  2. Form 202 Part II
  3. Copy of all transcripts of post-secondary study
  4. 500-word research description of past roles and future interests in research

If you wish to self-identify as a Black or Indigenous student researcher please indicate this in your application material.  Institutions may recommend applications for USRAs from these students beyond their usual allocation of awards.

 These documents are used for ranking applications by the Department of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Awards Committee because this committee does not have access to the applications submitted to NSERC.


NSERC Guidelines:

The selection process of USRA applications will be carried out by institutions with an allocation and will be based on the following three selection criteria:

  • academic excellence
  • research potential
  • expected quality of the training and mentorship to be received

All application and review processes are internal to the institution. It is the institution’s responsibility to establish its selection criteria within the broad guidelines that the agencies provide.

DBS Criteria:

  • academic excellence (50%)
    • Students are awarded points for every graded course they have completed. Each course is weighted by level of course (1XX = 0.25, 2XX = 0.50, 3XX = 0.75 and 4XX = 1.00) and letter grade (A+ = 4.33, A = 4.0, B+ = 3.7, B = 3.5… C- = 1.67, D+ or below = 0)
  • research skills and potential (30%)
    • Students are awarded 1 point for each COMPLETED 3 unit research project course and each COMPLETED SCIENCE course (3xx-4xx only) with a 3 hour lab component. (10%)
    • Past roles and future interests in a career in research in the natural sciences (20%)
  • expected quality of the training and mentorship to be received (20%)
  • Students role & project suitability (10%)
  • Is the project in the natural sciences (NSERC eligible, rather than CIHR or SSHRC)
  • Is there CLEAR evidence the student will be performing research activities?
  • Is there CLEAR evidence the student will have individualized opportunities for learning and training?
  • Training and Mentorship (10%)
  • Is there a clear mentorship plan in place?

Mentorship can take many forms, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Development and delivery of training workshops outside of project requirements.
  • Establishment of safe, equitable and inclusive research environments, practices and norms.
  • Formal or informal mentoring.
  • Supervision of HQP in the research process.
  • Training in traditional knowledge or Indigenous ways of knowing including cultural practices in the NSE context.

For more information see:


 Biological Sciences: or

 More information: