Undergraduate Summer Research Awards

Second year software engineering student Catriona Chan presenting her research to Kamran Siddiqui, Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

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 

Application Deadline:  Monday, January 31, 2022
Recipients of these awards are expected to be selected and notified by early March, 2022.

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. 


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 $8,400 (NSERC Award $6,000 + Supervisor's contribution (min. $2,400). 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
  • 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 and value 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 Project 2021 Summer Research Internships

Description: This year, the focus will be on post-event tornado damage surveys and real-time hailstone collection and analysis. There may also be associated coding-focused projects. The hailstone collection work will be based out of Calgary 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.


  • Canadian citizen, or landed immigrant
  • Registered in any undergraduate university program at a Canadian university (senior high school students maybe considered)
  • Be available from May 2 - August 26, 2022

For more information, visit the NTP website www.uwo.ca/ntp



  • 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 2022. 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! 


  • Dr. Jose Herrera ( jherrer3@uwo.ca) - Development of oxygen carriers for the production of transportation fuels from renewable sources
  • Dr. Dominic Pjontek ( dpjontek@uwo.ca) - Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to high value products in a gas-liquid-solid reactor
  • Dr. Amarjeet Bassi ( abassi@uwo.ca) - Carbon Capture using Microalgae systems for a Green economy
  • Dr. Lauren Flynn ( lflynn8@uwo.ca) - Development of cell-based regenerative therapies harnessing cell-instructive biomaterials
  • Dr. Franco Berruti ( fberruti@uwo.ca) - Farm-scale Production of Biocarbon from Agricultural Residues and Wastes for Multiple Uses and Carbon Capture and Sequestration
  • Dr. Charles Xu ( cxu6@uwo.ca):
    1. Hydrothermal liquefaction of biomass into biofuels or biobased chemicals
    2. Manufacuring formaldehyde-free wood panels with bio-based adhesives
  • Dr. Hugo De Lasa ( hdelasa@uwo.ca) - Chemical Looping Combustion using Oxygen Carriers
  • Dr. Andrew Hrymak ( ahrymak@uwo.ca) - Molding of Filled Polymer Nanocomposites
  • Dr. Naomi Klinghoffer ( nklingh@uwo.ca) - Development of sorbents for carbon capture during hydrogen production 
  • Dr. Jin Zhang ( Jin.Zhang@uwo.ca): Development of Gas Sensor by Using Nanostructured Semiconductor
  • Dr. Dominic Pjontek ( dpjontek@uwo.ca) and Dr. Cedric Briens ( cbriens@uwo.ca) - Study of gas adsorption kinetics on coke particles. 
  • Dr. Ying Zheng ( ying.zheng@uwo.ca):
    1. Development of iron catalysts for partial upgrading bitumen
    2. Plasma-assisted CO2 to chemicals
  • Dr. Dimitre Karamanev ( dkaraman@uwo.ca) - Calculation of the global warming by considering the entire Earth as a gas (atmosphere) – liquid (the ocean) - solid (land) reactor
  • Dr. Kibret Mequanint ( kmequani@uwo.ca):
    1. Photoluminescent hydrogels for therapeutic drug delivery
    2. Design and printing of antiepileptic chronotherapy drug tablet for personalized/precision medicine
    3. Radiotherapy film and gel dosimeters
  • Dr. George Nakla ( gnakhla@uwo.ca):
    Title: Energy Minimization for Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants
    Description: This project adopts a two-pronged approach to minimize wastewater treatment energy by optimizing the energy required for biological treatment, which accounts for 60% of the overall energy demand as well as enhancing energy recovery through anaerobic digestion of wastewater treatment biosolids. The student will support two doctoral research projects. The first project is on developing 2nd generation of biological nitrogen removal through partial nitrification. The second project advances the development of an innovative patented anaerobic digestion technology assisted by vacuum.


  • Dr. Gregory Kopp ( gakopp@uwo.ca) - The Northern Tornadoes Project will accept students from any discipline but has particular openings related to remote sensing, software engineering, structural engineering, wind engineering, machine learning, and meteorology of severe storms.
  • Dr. Ayan Sadhu ( asadhu@uwo.ca
    1. Bridge health monitoring using mobile sensors: this project requires a background in structural engineering, finite element modeling, AI and data analysis.
    2. Structural inspection using Augmented Reality: this project requires a background in software engineering, programming, IoT sensors and AI.
    3. Road condition monitoring – it requires a background in structural engineering.
    4. Data-driven structural damage assessment – it requires a background in structural engineering, dynamics and Matlab.
    5. A literature survey of 3D printed construction in civil engineering – background in structural engineering and proficiency in writing.
  • Dr. Tim Newson ( tnewson@eng.uwo.ca) – Deep Space Asteroid Mining. Looking for students to get involved in the Khepri Project. Join an international team of academics and industry partners as we investigate how best to extract water from the solar system’s best studied asteroid: Bennu. Work with an interdisciplinary team exploring the robotics, control systems and mining techniques / mechanisms necessary to make Bennu the first and best source for extraplanetary water.
  • Dr. M. Reza Najafi ( mnajafi7@uwo.ca
    1. Analyzing concurrent and compound events (compound flooding; hot-dry period; floods and droughts; precipitation and extreme wind) under climate change
    2. Evaluation and bias correction of high spatiotemporal resolution radar and satellite precipitation products for large scale hydrological modelling
    3. Development of multi-hazard risk analysis frameworks for critical infrastructure
  • Dr. Bing Li ( bing.li@uwo.ca) - Analysis of human-induced earthquakes using machine learning and statiscal models. 


Dr. Katarina Grolinger ( kgroling@uwo.ca):
1. Machine learning for energy systems (including federated and transfer learning).
2. Machine Learning for Augmented Reality systems.
3. EV energy management.

Dr. Michael Naish ( mnaish@uwo.ca): Smart monitoring and assessment of physical fitness activities.

Dr. Joshua Pearce ( joshua.pearce@uwo.ca): FAST Group pre-application process:  https://www.appropedia.org/FAST_application_process
1. Distributed recycling and additive manufacturing - converting waste in 3D printing feedstock including: recyclebots, FPF printers, and extrusion molding.
2. Development of open source technologies to convert waste plastic into food including: shredders, extruders, spectrometers, chemical reactors, bioreactors, and fluidized beds.
3. Solar photovoltaic applications including: distributed fabrication of novel racking, agrivoltaics, floatovoltaics (aquavolitacs), open source solar + electric vehicle charging.

Dr. Jayshri Sabarinathan ( jsabarin@uwo.ca): Remote Sensing Instrumentation and Nanophotonics Sensors Engineering Research group - potential Summer USRA projects.
1. Hyperspectral camera development for Agricultural monitoring and remote sensing from micro-satellites – involves embedded systems and circuit hardware expertise/interest and optical imaging instrumentation development; industry partners involved in project.
2. Multispectral camera development and testing for Lunar micro-rover instrumentation. 
3. Photonic Integrated Device Testing - Building Measurement test setups for characterization of photonic integrated circuits for sensors and optical phased array applications.
4. WesternU's Ukpik-1 CubeSat mission launching in 2023.


Dr. S. Asokanthan ( sasokant@uwo.ca):
1. Metal and Non-metal based Additive Manufacturing of Resonators for Vibratory Gyroscope Application

Dr. L. Ferreira ( lferreir@uwo.ca):
1. Kinematic analysis and design of Stewart Platform parallel robots.
2. Motion analysis of the hand.
3. Internal bone strain measurements from microCT scans.

Dr. H. Mao ( haojie.mao@uwo.ca):
1. Concussion/brain trauma and helmet research
2. Automotive safety involving active and passive safety techniques
3. Advanced computational modeling for biomechanical and structural analysis
4. Neural engineering with brain electrode and electromagnetic stimulation
5. Working with industry partners for sports safety, such as improving head & neck protection during hockey and football games and reducing commotio cordis risks during baseball and lacrosse games
6. Using machine learning and data mining to handle brain biomechanical and biomedical signals
7. Drone to human impact safety and supporting federal regulation development

Dr. Michael Naish ( mnaish@uwo.ca):
1. Smart monitoring and assessment of physical fitness activities.

Dr. E. Savory ( esavory@uwo.ca):
1. Experimental measurement of airborne transport of viral droplets (such as those produced by coughing) and their deposition on different material surfaces – A Covid-19 project in collaboration with virologists at Western’s ImPaKT laboratory.
2. Development of a simple engineering model for tornado wind fields, using data from unique, world-leading, computer simulations of tornado-producing supercell thunderstorms (in collaboration with a meteorologist, Leigh Orf at University of Wisconsin Madison, USA). 
3. Understanding and improving the performance of small water meters for use in multi-unit residential buildings (in collaboration with a local company in London).

Dr. Kamran Siddiqui ( ksiddiq@uwo.ca):
1. Imaging technique for 3D flow velocity measurements
2. Thermal energy storage for sustainable design applications

Dr. Anthony Straatman ( astraatman@eng.uwo.ca):
1. CFD modelling of porous materials

Dr. O.R. Tutunea-Fatan ( rtutunea@eng.uwo.ca):
1. Fabrication of microstructures for enhanced surface functionality: hydrophilic/hydrophobic, aero/hydro-dynamic, iceophylic/iceophobic, antifouling, diffractive gratings, etc.
2. The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence towards the automatic control of micromanufacturing processes such as diamond cutting and laser polishing.

Dr. Ryan Willing ( rwilling@uwo.ca):
1. Studying knee motion during muscle-driven flexion-extension motions on a joint motion simulator
2. Experimental analysis of an energy-harvesting load-sensing knee implant
3. Measuring micromotion at bone-implant interfaces
4. Measuring human knee joint biomechanics in CT and MRI