Undergraduate Summer Research Awards


Undergraduate summer research provide opportunities for undergraduate student to obtain research experience during the summer months (May-August), and stimulates research interests in the natural sciences and engineering fields. They also motivate and encourage students to pursue graduate studies in these fields.

These summer research awards provide financial support for students to gain research experience by conducting research work at the university under the supervision of a faculty member.

Western and the Faculty of Engineering are committed to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenization. As part of this commitment, we will consider diversity of the awardees to provide opportunities for Black, Indigenous, students of colour, students that identify as LGTBQ2S+, women, visible minorities, and students with disabilities.

Award Duration: 16 consecutive weeks (May-August) on a full-time basis.

Award Value: $7,500 minimum (amount varies by type of award)

Application Deadline:  January 26, 2024
Recipients of these awards are expected to be selected and notified by early March, 2024.


Western Engineering offers different types of undergraduate summer research awards (see below for details). The awards will be administered through a SINGLE APPLICATION for students to be considered for all summer award competitions. 


Western Students APPLY HERE

Non-Western Students APPLY HERE

DEADLINE PASSED (January 29, 2024)


Undergraduate Student Research Awards


To be eligible to apply for an award, you must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of 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 current and previous year of study, a cumulative average of a B+ (78%).

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.
  • You may hold a maximum of three USRAs throughout your undergraduate university career.

To hold an award, you must:

  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of university study (or two academic terms) of your bachelor's degree;
  • have been registered in at least one of the two terms immediately before holding the award in a bachelor's degree program at an eligible institution;
  • not have started a program of graduate studies in the natural sciences or engineering at any time;
  • be engaged on a full-time basis in research and development activities in the natural sciences or engineering during the tenure of the award;
  • NSERC will no longer require professors to hold an active grant when applying to
    supervise a USRA student. NSERC considers anyone who is authorized by their
    university to independently supervise students to be an eligible supervisor.

Value: The minimum value of the award is $8,680 (NSERC Award $6,000 + Supervisor's contribution (min. $2,680). Students often receive more than the minimum award. 

Part-time hours and vacation leave will not be approved.

Western Undergraduate Summer Research Internship


  • A student award provided by Western Research
  • Same value as NSERC USRA (minimum $8,680)
  • Program is similar to NSERC USRA, enhanced by additional professional development opportunities hosted by Student Experience and Western Libraries


  • Canadian Citizens/ Permanent Residents, and International students are considered
  • Registered full-time student in the term immediately before the award
  • Do not hold higher degrees in natural science or engineering
  • Have obtained, over the current and previous year of study, a cumulative average of a B- (70%).
  • Have not begun a graduate program prior to tenure of award
  • Not enrolled in an undergrad professional degree (M.D., D.D.S., B.Sc.N.

For more information on USRI programming, please visit: USRI - Research Western - Western University (uwo.ca)

Dean's Award

Same requirements as NSERC USRA, but

  • Open to both Domestic and International Students
  • Have obtained, over the current and previous year of study, a cumulative average of a B- (70%).

Value: The minimum value of the award is $7,500 (Faculty Award $3,650 + Supervisor's contribution (min. $3,650). Students often receive more than the minimum award.

Student Research Awards (SRA)

Same requirements and value as NSERC USRA, but

Value: The minimum value of the award is $7,500, which is contributed by the supervisor. Students often receive more than the minimum award.

Bill & Barbara Etherington Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Awarded to the top 4 undergraduate summer research applicants in ECE with a minimum average of 80% in their last academic year.

Value: $10,000

Northern Tornadoes/Northern Hail Project 2024 Summer Research Internships

This year, the focus will be on post-event tornado damage surveys with the Northern Tornadoes Project/Northern Hail Project and real-time hailstone collection and analysis. There may also be associated coding-focused projects. The hailstone collection work will be based out of Olds, AB and travel stipends will be provided. For those interested in the collection work, storm chasing experience and a good driving record will be considered assets.

  Value: $10,000


  • Canadian citizen, international student, or permanent resident
  • Registered in any undergraduate university program at a Canadian university (senior high school students maybe considered)
  • Be available from May 13 - August 30, 2024

Visit the NTP website ( www.uwo.ca/ntp) or the NHP website ( www.uwo.ca/nhp) for more information about the internships.

Frugal Biomedical Summer Research Internships


  • Students will apply the principles of frugal innovation to design, prototype, and test biomedical technologies intended for use in low-resource settings in Indigenous Canadian communities and/or East Africa. Frugal innovation is an emerging paradigm in engineering that emphasizes equity and sustainability in technology development. For biomedical applications, frugal innovation leads to devices that can be used effectively in regions with shortages of specialist personnel, maintained with limited access to replacement components, and function reliably in the absence of reliable power or other infrastructure.
  • Program includes a weekly Summer Student Seminar Series hosted by Robarts Research Institute, which covers a mixture of scientific and professional development topics, and a semi-weekly Frugal Biomedical Innovations Seminar Series on Zoom that facilitates interaction with collaborators from East African universities.


Eligibility: Same award value and requirements as NSERC USRA, except:


  • Open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students.
  • Have obtained, over the current and previous year of study, a cumulative average of B- (70%).
  • Descriptions of eligible projects can be found at the link below. You may apply to multiple projects with a single application submission.

Thompson Centre for Engineering Leadership & Innovation

Coming soon 



  • An external applicant (from another University) can apply for an USRA at Western University. The applicant applies through Western, needs to meet the USRA criteria, as well as any Engineering specific criteria. The applicant must upload an official transcript and university legend with their application. Please note that NSERC has discontinued any travel allowances they used to provide.

Below you will find a listing of available projects for Undergraduate Summer Research in 2024. This page is updated regularly as project information is received by the Graduate Office. This is not a comprehensive list of all opportunities, so please feel free to reach out to other faculty members on your own to explore your options! 


CBE Cedric Briens cbriens@uwo.ca Upgrading of oils from the chemical recycling of polymers
CBE Lauren Flynn  lauren.flynn@uwo.ca Development of cell-based therapies applying cell-instructive biomaterials to harness the pro-regenerative capacity of human adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) and/or human peripheral blood-derived monocytes (hPBMs) for applications in vascular regeneration and wound healing.
CBE Lauren Tribe lbriens@uwo.ca Valorization of spent coffee grounds; The research will investigate some of the parameters that affect the drying rate of SCG.  Possible parameters include coffee from different regions, coffee roasted to different levels, and coffee grind size and shape.  The summer research student will conduct a literature survey on SCG applications, characterize the SCG, and conduct SCG drying experiments and analyze the results.
CBE Dominic Pjontek dpjontek@uwo.ca  Integrated Carbon Dioxide Capture and Conversion to Methanol: This novel process utilizes the exothermic heat of reaction and reduces pressurization costs by integrating the carbon dioxide capture solvent/absorbent with the multiphase reactor for conversion to methanol. The student will prepare and experimentally evaluate the performance of catalyst and amine-alcohol-based solvent combinations in a slurry reactor system


CEE Bing Li bing.li@uwo.ca Statistical and machine learning analysis of earthquakes induced by geologic carbon storage
CEE Bing Li bing.li@uwo.ca Numerical modelling of rock fall hazards
CEE Bing Li bing.li@uwo.ca Data collection and statistical/machine learning analysis of climate change data for rock slope stability analysis
CEE Bing Li bing.li@uwo.ca Permafrost experiments for foundations of small modular nuclear reactors
CEE Chris Power cpower24@uwo.ca Identifying transport pathways for methane emissions from landfill cover systems
CEE Chris Power cpower24@uwo.ca Tracking road salt-contaminated groundwater being released to lakes 
CEE Clare Robinson crobinson@eng.uwo.ca Tracking emerging contaminants in streams
CEE Clare Robinson crobinson@eng.uwo.ca Characterization of groundwater pollutants into Lake Ontario
CEE Clare Robinson crobinson@eng.uwo.ca Performance of urban stormwater systems in removing pollutants
CEE Ayan Sadhu asadhu@uwo.ca Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality-based Structural Inspection
CEE Ayan Sadhu asadhu@uwo.ca Damage identification in a bridge using the measured data
CEE Ayan Sadhu asadhu@uwo.ca Path planning and automation of an unmanned ground robot for structural inspection 


ECE Joshua Pearce joshua.pearce@uwo.ca Solar and agrivoltaic projects: To accelerate a sustainable future with Solar photovoltaic (PV), we still need to decrease the costs by implementing optimal designs that use PV the most effectively. FAST is accounting for meteorological factors using FOSH sensing and datalogging to suggest best practices for reducing losses and increasing yields for PV systems. While at the same time pushing the limits of new PV systems designs including agrivoltaics (combining PV with agriculture with novel low-cost open source racking, new types of cells, and integration into greenhouses all of which have shown the potential to increase farm revenue and in many cases increase yields), floatovoltaics (using floating PV to reduce water evaporation while increasing yield with water cooling, open source building integrated PV (BIPV), coupling PV with heat pumps and thermal batteries to use renewable energy to electrify heating, and PV-powered electric vehicle charging to electrify transportation. 
ECE Joshua Pearce joshua.pearce@uwo.ca Open Source Distributed Recycling and Additive Manufacturing (DRAM) Projects: Free and open source hardware (FOSH) consists of physical objects designed and offered in the same manner as free and open-source software (FOSS). FAST develops open-source scientific and medical hardware for open source labs using Arduino microcontrollers and RepRap 3D printers. FAST is developing solar powered self-replicating open-source 3-D printers - capable of making primary components of solar photovoltaic systems from recycled waste. This is part of a process called distributed recycling and additive manufacturing (DRAM), where anyone can use waste and free designs to make valuable products for themselves.  In addition, FAST is using open source computer vision and artificial intelligence to make smart waste printers that can fix printing errors in real time. 
ECE Joshua Pearce joshua.pearce@uwo.ca Resilience and Alternative Food Projects: Mass human starvation is currently likely if global agricultural production is dramatically reduced for several years following a global catastrophe (e.g. asteroid impact). Storing up enough food to feed everyone, however, would take a significant amount of time and would increase the price of food, killing additional people due to inadequate global access to affordable food now. Humanity is far from doomed, however, in these situations - there are solutions. This research in FAST continues investing distributed food production and finding practical low-cost ways using open source tools to derive edible food from leaves (leaf concentrate), seaweeds, wood, and perhaps most radically -- from waste plastic. 
ECE Joshua Pearce joshua.pearce@uwo.ca The FAST research group also focuses on the thermal-electrical-economic optimization of solar PV-integrated greenhouses for cultivating a variety of edible crops. The heating and cooling needs of these greenhouses will be met through the utilization of heat pumps, powered by wavelength-selective semi-transparent PV panels specifically designed for agricultural applications. Two benchscale greenhouses have been installed at WIRED to facilitate this research. To capture essential data, a network of sensors and cameras will be strategically placed inside and outside the greenhouses. Seeds of various crops will be planted in early spring, and their growth will be monitored until late summer. The cultivation process will involve overseeing and nurturing the crops to ensure their well-being. Simultaneously, an economic model will be developed, encompassing the entire system's costs and predicting future expenses. This model will incorporate aggregated quotes, grid-metering costs, and other relevant factors. By feeding this information into the model, we aim to gain insights into the economic viability of the integrated system and make predictions for future costs. 
ECE Joshua Pearce joshua.pearce@uwo.ca Additive manufacturing (AM) of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) has been a hot research topic. Compared to polymers and short fibers reinforced composites, CFRTP has far superior mechanical properties. An open-source 3D printer has been developed by the FAST group for the printing of CFRTP, which has the potential to expand the applications of polymer AM to industries that require high mechanical performance, such as aerospace, automotive, and sports. In this project, we aim to develop a new 3D printing slicing algorithms to maintain the continuity of the toolpath in order to maximize the mechanical strength of the printed parts. Students with a background in computer science,  and especially experiences in 3D printing Slicing, C++, python, computer graphics are preferred
ECE Joshua Pearce joshua.pearce@uwo.ca In a second closely related project, we aim to improve the mechanical performance of the printed CFRTP by increasing the interface adhesion strength between the continuous fiber and the polymer matrix. Students with a background in mechanics, materials, and especially experiences in RepRap class 3D printing are preferred.
ECE Elvis Chen echen29@uwo.ca

First-Person Immersive Augmented Reality System for Needle Intervention:Augmented Reality (AR) Head-Mounted Display (HMD), such as the Microsoft Hololens 2, are increasingly being used to assist surgeons to perceive the spatial configuration of the surgical target (e.g. a tumour) and surgical instruments (e.g. an ablation needle). In our lab, we have developed a surgical guidance system (i.e. GPS for surgery) based on a combination of tracking systems and utilizing the Microsoft Hololens 2 for visualization. For this summer project, we want to address some of the perceptual issues when visualizing a subcutaneous structure (i.e. beneath the skin) in an optical see-through environment, including depth-perception, user performance, and user interaction.

ECE Elvis Chen echen29@uwo.ca

An Augmented Reality Environment for Pediatric Neurosurgical PatientsAugmented Reality (AR) Head-Mounted Display (HMD), such as the Microsoft Hololens 2, can be used in an interactive manner to explain complex surgical procedures for the pediatric patients. In our lab, we have developed a collaborative environment for patient education, where multiple Microsoft Hololens 2 can be used explain surgical procedures to the patients and their family, in order to obtain informed patient consent. The other benefit is to reduce psychological impact for the patients (e.g. reduced stress), especially for pediatric patients undergoing neurosurgery. In this summer project, we aim to explore the efficacy of our AR platform for patient engagement in the context of neurosurgery with pediatric patients.

ECE Elvis Chen echen29@uwo.ca

Mathematical Modeling of Mitral Valve:As the population age, heart valve disease is becoming more prevalent. As part of an ongoing research project, we have been developing a mathematical model of the human mitral valve. One of our goals is to create a library of geometric models describing a wide range of heart valve diseases. Such a library will be a valuable resource for researchers studying mitral valve disease. This summer project will focus on creating a software program to modify the polygonal mesh model of a healthy mitral valve to create a variety of different wireframe models of mitral valve disease. A series of parameters (leaflet length and area, annular diameter, and coaptation area) will be defined by which a predefined healthy mitral wireframe model can be warped to create a range of different wireframe pathology models.

ECE Elvis Chen echen29@uwo.ca

Stereo (3D) Vision for Endoscopy Surgical Simulator:Dual Lens USB Cameras can be used to mimic human bifocal vision, and provide depth perception to machine learning algorithms. Our lab uses a thorax simulator for recreating a realistic environment for minimally invasive heart valve surgery. One of our goals is to add dual lens endoscopic USB cameras to our simulator, with which we can track the location of surgical tools and sutures. With this technology we hope to create a software platform for accurately evaluating the performance of cardiac surgery trainees. This summer project will focus on integrating two USB endoscopic cameras with our surgery simulator. It will involve some CAD and 3D printing to optimize the camera locations but will focus primarily on calibration of the two cameras for future applications. Camera calibration will involve using established methods for defining the various camera properties which will make it possible to track objects in 3D space within the camera view space.


ECE Elvis Chen echen29@uwo.ca

Beating Heart Surgical Simulator:We are currently developing a cardiac surgery simulator for minimally invasive cardiac bypass surgery.  To accurately mimic the surgical environment, we will need a silicone beating heart, controlled by a cam and motor mechanism which will provide realistic heart surface motion at the surgical site (the left or right coronary artery). This summer project will focus on creating a realistic motion actuator system for mimicking heart motion along the path of the left and right coronary arteries. Skills required include CAD, PCB design, and low voltage motor control.


MME Remus Tutunea-Fatan otutune2@uwo.ca Fabrication of microstructures for enhanced surface functionality: aero/hydro-dynamic, fouling resistant, iceophobic, etc.
MME Remus Tutunea-Fatan otutune2@uwo.ca The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence towards the automatic control and monitoring of computer numerically controlled (CNC)-driven micromanufacturing processes such as single point diamond cutting and laser polishing. 
MME Yang Zhao yzhao628@uwo.ca Solid-state electrolyte membrane for solid-state Li batteries
MME Yang Zhao yzhao628@uwo.ca Interface engineering for sodium batteries
MME Hamidreza Abdolvand hamid.abdolvand@uwo.ca High temperature deformation of nickel superalloys for small nuclear reactors
MME Hamidreza Abdolvand hamid.abdolvand@uwo.ca Effects of ion irradiation on deformation and failure of nickel superalloys
MME Hamidreza Abdolvand hamid.abdolvand@uwo.ca Hydrogen embrittlement of zirconium alloys used in CANDU nuclear reactors
MME Hamidreza Abdolvand hamid.abdolvand@uwo.ca Strain measurement using high-resolution electron microscopes 
MME Chris DeGroot christopher.degroot@uwo.ca Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions in wastewater collection and treatment systems
MME Chris DeGroot christopher.degroot@uwo.ca Nature-based stormwater treatment
MME Louis Ferreira lferreir@uwo.ca  Full-field strain characterization of 3D-printed bone with high-resolution micro-CT scanning and digital volume correlation
MME Louis Ferreira lferreir@uwo.ca  Robotic control of an in-vitro human joint loading system for micro-CT imaging with strain field measurement
MME Louis Ferreira lferreir@uwo.ca  Robotic bone machining for craniofacial reconstruction
MME Haojie Mao haojie.mao@uwo.ca Concussion/brain trauma and helmet research
MME Haojie Mao haojie.mao@uwo.ca Automotive safety involving active and passive safety techniques
MME Haojie Mao haojie.mao@uwo.ca Using machine learning and data mining to handle brain biomechanical and biomedical data, including brain strains and imaging
MME Harvey Shi hshi265@uwo.ca  Fibre-based Energy Storage Devices via Co-axial Electrospinning
MME Harvey Shi hshi265@uwo.ca  Biocompatible skin-mounted biosensors
MME Tony Straatman astraatman@eng.uwo.ca Computational analysis of phase change in packed beds of spherical encapsulated PCMs
MME Yang Zhao yzhao628@uwo.ca Solid-state batteries (one or two projects)

Northern Tornadoes/Northern Hail Project

Available projects for Summer 2024

Frugal Biomedical Innovations Research Internships

Coming soon 

Thompson Centre for Engineering Leadership & Innovation

Coming soon