SSHRC Undergraduate Student Research Awards


Award Value


Supervisor Contribution


Minimum gross $7,946


16 consecutive weeks (between May and August 2018)

Application Deadline**

February 26, 2018 at 4:00pm

Notice of Decision

Late March or early April 2018

Start date

May 1, 2018

ORIS Contact

Hector MacIntyre

**DEADLINE Extension – February 26, 2018 at 4:00pm


The University of Lethbridge SSHRC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRAs) aim to encourage research and advance training of undergraduate students in all disciplines. The program facilitates research advancement by providing students with a suitable research training experience with a University of Lethbridge faculty member who has an ongoing research program. 

The SSHRC USRA is valued at $5,625 for the duration of sixteen consecutive weeks at 35 hours of work per week. It is expected that the funds requested in each competition will exceed the funds available. In the inaugural 2017 competition, 14 eligible applications were received and 8 were funded.

NOTE FOR SUPERVISORS – Effective January 1, 2018, ORIS requires that faculty supervisors supplement the summer studentships to adhere to current Alberta minimum wage requirements.  Because these awards are now considered employment income by the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) costs also need to be included.  Please see the Notice Board for more information on this decision

For the 2018 application cycle, the required top-up is calculated as follows:


# hours per week

# weeks

Min Wage as of Oct 1, 20171


Total cost

UofL contribution

Required faculty top up









1Alberta minimum wage will increase to $15.00/hour effective October 1, 2018.


At the time of application the student must:

  • Be a full-time student at the University of Lethbridge;
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher. Students with transfer credit from another institution must check eligibility with the Registrar's Office.  The cumulative GPA shown on their Bridge account does not include transfer credit and thus, is not accurate for application purposes;
  • Have completed at least eight courses at the University of Lethbridge at the conclusion of the semester in which the application is submitted; and
  • Plan to return to full-time undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge in the semester immediately following the award.


  • December: Launch of current competition.
  • February 26, 2018 at 4:00pm: Application deadline.  Applications are to be submitted using the online form below.
  • February – March: Applications are sent to an ORIS selection committee for review and scoring. The selection committee meets to determine a final application ranking and make funding decisions.
  • April: Notices of Decision are distributed to applicants.
  • May – August: Term of the award.

How to Apply:

General Guidelines:

The student must link with a faculty member who has an ongoing research program.  The student should discuss the application thoroughly with the faculty member prior to application. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the complete application, which includes a financial commitment by the faculty member, is submitted prior to the application deadline. Submissions for the current competition are due by 4:00pm on February 26, 2018.  Late submissions will not be accepted and incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible. In exceptional circumstances, official transcripts will be accepted for one week after the application deadline.

Complete applications require the following components:

  1. Online application form (below): The applications will now be accepted using an online submission.  Each component of the application must be uploaded into the form and submitted as one package.  Be sure to have all components ready at time of application as you are unable to save the form to edit at a later time. 
  2. Student Letter: The student must upload a detailed letter indicating the specific learning objectives associated with the academic program and the student's qualifications (e.g. education, experience, leadership roles, etc.) for this research award. This letter should also list the student's previous awards and scholarships. The student must include an explanation for any course withdrawals and/or lower transfer credits and/or semesters of study with less than 5 courses.
  3. Supervisor Letter: The proposed supervising faculty member must provide a one-page abstract of the research program, indicate the work to be designated to the student during the tenure of the award, the work schedule, and indicate that adequate supervision will be provided. In this letter, the faculty member must confirm the amount of financial support and the source of funds being provided for the top-up portion. Please note: it is mandatory that the supervisor provide a minimum top-up to adhere to minimum wage requirements. Students must upload this letter into the online form.
  4. Official Transcript(s): The student must upload up-to-date official transcript(s) of their entire academic record (including transfer credit). Official transcripts for the University of Lethbridge can be requested through the online BRIDGE system and sent to the student’s address. Transcripts from other institutions should be uploaded as well. One field is available for transcripts.  Please upload a single pdf or scanned copy of all transcripts in a single file. Scanned copies of transcripts can be emailed to no later than one week following the deadline with the subject line: SSHRC USRA Transcripts.
  5. Letter of Recommendation: The student must upload a separate letter of recommendation from a faculty member.  This may be the supervising faculty, other University of Lethbridge faculty, or a faculty member from another post-secondary institution that is known to the applicant. If this recommendation letter is being provided by the supervising faculty member, please include it as a separate letter from that individual to maintain consistency for the reviewers. The letter of recommendation must clearly outline the member's assessment of the student's independence, research potential, and academic record. Please see the Conflict of Interest Guidelines below for guidance on requesting a recommendation. 

Application submission instructions:

Complete applications must be submitted by 4:00pm on February 26, 2018 to the Office of Research Services & Innovation Services using the online form below.  Late applications will not be accepted.  Official transcripts and letters of recommendation can be emailed to with the Subject Line: SSHRC USRA

Following the application deadline, an email will be sent to applicants and their proposed supervisor confirming the receipt of the application no later than on week following the deadline. 

Conditions of the Award:

  1. Use of funds:  The University of Lethbridge contribution to each successful SSHRC USRA is for a total of $5,625 and will be disbursed to the recipient once a month on the last business day of each month starting on May 31st.  Supplemental funds and the source of funds provided by the supervisor must be confirmed with ORIS no later than May 1, 2018 using the Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) – Research
  2. Term: The term of the award is for sixteen (16) consecutive weeks between May 1 and August 31st.  It is expected that the recipient work full-time equivalent hours (approximately 35) for each week over the summer.  The exact hours and scheduling should be made in cooperation with the supervisor and student. 
  3. Reports: There are no reporting requirements for this award from the student or supervisor.  Successful recipients will be posted on the ORIS Competition Results webpage. 
  4. Personnel: SSHRC USRA recipients are not governed under a collective agreement.

Evaluation Criteria and Process:

The following three evaluation criteria apply to all applicants:

  1. Student (50%): The transcripts, GPA and the Student Letter are evaluated for research/scholarly/creative achievements of the applicant as well as how the project fits with the learning objectives of the student.   
  2. Supervisor (25%): The supervisor letter is evaluated based on the project description, the work schedule, and whether there will be adequate supervision over the term of the award. Supervisor letters must include the amount of financial support being provided to the student to make the application eligible to the competition. 
  3. Recommendation (25%): The Letter of Recommendation is evaluated on the assessment of the student by the referee as well as the quality of the letter. The recommendation should include specific examples and information to support the assessment.     

NOTE: if a Faculty member has been proposed as a Supervisor for more than one applicant, the Supervisor will be asked to rank their potential trainees.  A maximum of two SSHRC USRA recipients will be eligible to be supervised by one Faculty member per summer. 

Following the application deadline, applications are reviewed for completeness and then made available to members of a selection committee who are asked to rank the applicant pool according to the above criteria. In the event that a large volume of applications is received (more than 25), the selection committee may be asked to rank the application pool according to the Pro-Grid system used in the Chinook competition. Applicants and proposed supervisors are therefore advised to read the document especially the language ladder it uses to assign scores and ranking:

This document also provides language that will be used to assess the Letter of Recommendation. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application addresses the evaluation criteria. At a roundtable meeting, the selection committee will determine a final applicant ranking. Whether the Pro-Grid system is used or not, each applicant will receive a summary table of scores from the review in order to have an indication of the relative strengths and weaknesses in their application package. 

Once the applications have been placed in rank order, the first awards will be offered. The number of applications that are funded is based on the funds allotted for that competition. It is expected that the number of fundable applications will exceed the amount of available funds for each competition. Because applicants often apply to other studentships (e.g. Chinook Awards and AIHS Summer Studentships), ORIS will work towards funding as many students as possible with all available awards. It is hoped that all awards will be accepted and finalized near the end of March or early April.

Conflict of Interest Guidelines* for Recommendation Selection:

A conflict of interest is a conflict between a person’s duties and responsibilities with regard to the review process, and that person’s private, professional, business or public interests. There may be a real, perceived or potential conflict of interest when the review committee member, external reviewer or observer:

  • May receive professional/personal benefit resulting from the funding opportunity or application being reviewed;
  • Has a professional/personal relationship with an applicant or the applicant’s institution; or
  • Has a direct/indirect financial interest in a funding opportunity or application being reviewed.

A conflict of interest may exist when review committee members, external reviewers or observers:

  • Are a relative or close friend or have a personal relationship with the applicant(s);
  • Have had long-standing scientific or personal differences with the applicant(s); or
  • Feel for any reason unable to provide an impartial review of the application.

The ORIS reserves the right to resolve areas of uncertainty and to determine if a conflict exists.

* Adapted from the Government of Canada website.