The SSHRC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) aims to encourage research and advance training of undergraduate students from all faculties. 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 Undergraduate Student Research Award is valued at $5,625 for the duration of sixteen consecutive weeks and a full-time employment period during the summer months. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to supplement the award to adhere to Alberta’s minimum wage. It is expected that the funds requested in each competition will exceed the funds available.
At the time of application the student must:
- Be a full-time student.
- 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.
- Plan to return to full-time undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge in the semester immediately following the award.
- Fall: Launch of current competition.
- January 31, 2018 at 4:00pm: Application deadline.
- February - March: A merit review panel ranks applications and makes funding recommendations.
- Late March: Notices of Decision are distributed to applicants.
- May 1 – August 31: Term of the award.
How to Apply:
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 is submitted prior to the application deadline. Submissions for the current competition are due by 4:00pm on January 31, 2018. Late submissions will not be accepted and incomplete applications will be deemed ineligible. Official transcripts will be accepted for one week after the application deadline.
Complete applications require the following components:
- SSHRC Undergraduate Student Research Award online application form.
- Student Letter: The student must submit 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.
- Supervisor Letter: The proposed supervising faculty member must submit 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. The faculty member must indicate whether he/she will be providing financial support for the student or the project. Please note: it is recommended that the supervisor provide supplemental support. This award is offered as a nontaxable stipend. The supervisor should consider offering additional support in order to increase the market competitiveness of the award and to increase retention of students.
- Official Transcript(s): The student must provide 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 forwarded from the Registrar's Office to Hector MacIntyre, Office of Research & Innovation Services via campus mail. Transcripts from other institutions should be sent to Hector MacIntyre, Office of Research & Innovation Services, University of Lethbridge, 4401 University Drive West, Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4. Official transcripts are expected to arrive within seven days of the application deadline.
- Letter of Recommendation: The student must provide a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. This may be the supervising faculty, other U of L faculty, or a faculty member from another post-secondary institution that is known to the applicant. 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 January 31, 2018 online via the Office of Research Services & Innovation Services website. Late applications will not be accepted. All items must be uploaded electronically. Following the application deadline, an email will be sent to applicants and their proposed supervisors confirming the receipt of the application.
Conditions of the Award:
- Use of funds: The SSHRC Undergraduate Student Research Award is for a total of $5,625 and will be disbursed to the successful applicant once a month on the last business day of each month starting on May 31st. Any supplemental funds to be provided by the supervisor should be submitted to Payroll Services directly by the supervisor by the May payroll cutoff for monthly Payroll Authorization Forms. These supplemental funds should be submitted to Payroll using the Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) – Research.
- Term: The term of the award is for sixteen (16) consecutive weeks between May 1 and August 31st. It is expected that the student work full-time equivalent hours (approximately 37.5) for each week over the summer. The exact hours and scheduling should be made in cooperation with the supervisor and student.
- 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.
- Personnel: Personnel employed with grant funds are not regular University employees and are not covered by the provisions of the collective agreement(s) with support staff.
Evaluation Criteria and Process:
The following evaluation criteria apply to all applicants:
- Student (50%): Both the 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.
- 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.
- 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 Award recipients will be eligible to be supervised by one Faculty member per summer.
Following the application deadline, applications are sent to members of a merit review panel who are asked to rank the application packages on the above criteria using the Pro-Grid system. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application addresses the evaluation criteria. At a roundtable meeting, the review panel will rank all applicants relative to each other. Each applicant will receive a summary table of the scores from the three reviewers to compare to the language ladder 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 budget allotment for that funding year. 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), ORIS will work towards funding as many students as possible with all available awards.
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.
ORIS reserves the right to resolve areas of uncertainty and to determine if a conflict exists.
* Adapted from the Government of Canada website.