STEERS: SmarT rEsEarch Recommender System

Aizhan Tursunbayeva


Abhishta AbhishtaAbhishta Abhishta


Wouter van Heeswijk


Anna MachensAnna Machens



Karel KroezeKarel Kroeze

June 6, 2023

Creating a recommender system for suggesting research topics and relevant thesis supervisors based on the professional ambition and educational path of the student.

Today, the allocation of thesis supervisors is done on an ad-hoc basis by every study program within BMS. We can broadly categorize thesis projects into two categories based on the process followed to “match” students with thesis supervisors:

  • Projects where students first look for an assignment at a company and then approach a university supervisor (e.g. IEM);
  • Projects where students are free to either do an assignment at a company or focus on solving an academic research question with the help of a university supervisor (e.g. BIT).

In both of these cases students have little knowledge about the possibility of projects available or the expertise of the university supervisors. When students look for company assignments, they are restricted by the companies they already know or reach out to. Many times this leads to thesis assignments that may not directly confirm with the study program or future job aspirations of the student. We explain in more detail the shortcomings of the current process while describing the potential benefits of our project below. In order to provide an overview of available project opportunities to the students, we propose SmarT rEsEarch Recommender System (STEERS), a recommender system for students to help them choose or to propose a thesis project based on their educational path and future career goals.

This project has the following three goals:

  1. To valorize and expand the use of the existing repository of past thesis projects by scraping and linguistically linking its data on the thesis topics, supervisors, companies, and/or study programs (among others).
  2. To create a dashboard with insights on network associations between research topics, companies, supervisors, students, and study programs.
  3. To create a working prototype of a recommender system that helps in matching appropriate supervisors with students for bachelor and master thesis projects.

STEERS will provide students with adequate information to brainstorm on relevant thesis topics that can help them achieve their career goals. As students will have an overview of past supervision and potentially company involvements for each thesis topic, they will be able to reach out to appropriate university supervisors and/or companies. This will especially help students working on interdisciplinary topics.