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 minimum (amount varies by type of award)

Application Deadline:  January 27, 2023
Recipients of these awards are expected to be selected and notified by early March, 2023.

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

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 Project 2023 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, 2023

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

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.



  • 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 2023. 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 Andrew Hrymak ahrymak@uwo.ca A challenge in making electrically conductive polymers (plastics) is to minimize the amount of expensive conductive additives to achieve the highest conductivity.  These types of materials are used in battery and fuel cell components, among other applications.  
Investigators have used melt blending approaches to localize the expensive additive in polymer blends thus concentrating the additive and improving conductivity.  An opportunity is to use blue box recycle materials such as polyethylene and polypropylene.
In this project we will look at different pairs of polymers with the addition of electrically conductive fillers such as carbon nanotubes and graphene to localize the additives to enhance electrical conductivity.   The project is mostly experimental and hands-on for the student. 
CBE Jose Herrera jherrer3@uwo.ca Optimization of catalytic technology for the production of renewable transportation fuels. The student will be part of a team developing reaction engineering strategies to produce oxygenated transportation fuels (diesel, gasoline) using renewable feedstocks (bio-syngas, bio-methanol, bio-ethanol). Specifically designing, characterizing and testing selected catalytic formulations based on metal oxides.


CEE Ayan Sadhu asadhu@uwo.ca Augmented Reality-based Real-time 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
CEE Ayan Sadhu asadhu@uwo.ca Bridge weigh-in-motion for surveillance of truck weights on a bridge
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 Clare Robinson crobin69@uwo.ca Urban stormwater low impact development:  Work with a team doing field and laboratory work to assess urban stormwater quality and the effectiveness of green infrastructure in removing contaminants of concern.
CEE Clare Robinson crobin69@uwo.ca Freshwater salinization syndrome: Work with a team doing field work focused on understanding increasing salinization of urban streams  (due to road salt application) and contribution of groundwater pathways to the freshwater salinization problem
CEE Reza Najafi mnajafi7@uwo.ca Analyzing concurrent and compound events (compound flooding; hot-dry period; floods and droughts; precipitation and extreme wind) under climate change
CEE Reza Najafi mnajafi7@uwo.ca Evaluation and bias correction of high spatiotemporal resolution radar and satellite precipitation products for large scale hydrological modelling
CEE Reza Najafi mnajafi7@uwo.ca Development of multi-hazard risk analysis frameworks for critical infrastructure
CEE Timothy 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.


Department Faculty Member Email Address Project Summary
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. 


Department Faculty Member Email Address Project Summary
MME Anthony Straatman astraatman@eng.uwo.ca The use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to study heat transfer augmentation using porous materials
MME Chris DeGroot christopher.degroot@uwo.ca UV disinfection of air to prevent spread of infectious diseases
MME Chris DeGroot christopher.degroot@uwo.ca Experimental characterization of heat pipes for cooling applications
MME Chris DeGroot christopher.degroot@uwo.ca Investigation of greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater collection systems
MME Eric Savory esavory@uwo.ca Design and implementation of a control system for a human cough simulator for virus transmission research studies
MME Eric Savory esavory@uwo.ca Analysis of tornado wind speed data from full-scale numerical simulations of supercell thunderstorms to better understand the formation and maintenance mechanisms of tornadoes 
MME Hamidreza Abdolvand hamid.abdolvand@uwo.ca Laser Power Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing of Nickel Superalloys
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 Advanced computational modeling for biomechanical and structural analysis
MME Haojie Mao haojie.mao@uwo.ca Working with industry partners for improving sports safety, such as improving head & neck protection during hockey and football games and reducing commotio cordis risks during baseball and lacrosse games
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 Haojie Mao haojie.mao@uwo.ca Unique impact scenarios such as drone to human impact safety and supporting federal regulation development
MME Harvey Shi hshi265@uwo.ca Design of an automated multi-material DIW manufacturing system 
MME Harvey Shi hshi265@uwo.ca Development of bio-based sustainable inks for 3D printed supercapacitor electrodes
MME Harvey Shi hshi265@uwo.ca Tattoo-based skin-mounted biosensor testing and validation 
MME Jerzy Floryan Floryan@uwo.ca  Use of surface vibrations for flow control
MME Kamran Siddiqui ksiddiq@uwo.ca Performance testing of a thermal energy storage for residential applications to reduce natural gas usage for building heating
MME Kamran Siddiqui ksiddiq@uwo.ca Investigation of the impact of surrounding vegetation on the energy consumption in buildings (scaled model testing) 
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 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 Ryan Willing rwilling@uwo.ca Evaluation of a load sensing knee implant. This NIH-funded project investigates the behavior of a knee implant load sensor powered by static electricity. Undergraduate student research assistants will gain hands on biomechanics laboratory experience and participate in regular meetings with the broader international team. We will investigate how this embedded sensor influences knee behavior, how to optimize the measured signal, and develop machine learning algorithms to interpret measured signals. Up to two students. 
MME Ryan Willing rwilling@uwo.ca Development of a low-cost knee joint laxity tester for the OR. Knee joint laxity (how much the knee moves when pushed/pulled) is an important indicator of how stable a knee is. When measured during surgery, this can help surgeons better predict what the outcome of the surgery will be. The exact amount of force applied to the knee will effect how much it displaces, but typically that isn’t measured or controlled. This study focuses on developing a low-cost OR-friendly device to measure force and resulting displacement of the knee. One student. 
MME Ryan Willing rwilling@uwo.ca Analyzing joint kinematics in patients with knee instability. After total knee replacement, some patients experience knee instability, characterized by a sensation that their knee won’t support them and may buckle under load (particularly during stair descent). We will use dynamic x-ray imaging to examine knee kinematics in these patients during such activities and establish quantitative measures of joint instability. Eventually, this work will lead to surgical tools to mitigate post-operative knee instability. Up to two students.

Northern Tornadoes Project

Available projects for Summer 2023

Frugal Biomedical Innovations Research Internships

Available projects for Summer 2023