Working Group: Master’s Thesis Projects

MSc thesis collaborations on software research and development between companies and universities

Is your company interested in collaborating with a university in the Netherlands through MSc
thesis internships on software science and engineering? VERSEN can help you: As one of our
activities, we offer a matchmaking platform for connecting companies with research groups that
fit the needs of your project ideas.

MSc students all over the country may write their MSc thesis in collaboration with a company.
There are many advantages when hosting one of our students:

  • The student works on a challenging engineering problem that your company might be facing.
    The student makes use of scientific methods and will leverage the state-of-the-art
    tools, techniques and practices to help your company solve or get a better insight into
    the challenge.
  • The university will offer one of our researchers as the student’s supervisor. This means
    the work will be guided by one of our researchers.
  • This initial collaboration can grow and other opportunities, such as grants and subsidies,
    guest lectures, and consultancy, may emerge.
  • The company gets to know a highly-skilled, motivated student, who may become a
    future employee.

Requirements

The Dutch universities have a few requirements for such collaborations to happen:

  • The project to be worked on must be agreed upon between the university researcher
    and the company supervisor. The type of work needs to be scientific enough for the
    university to grant the title of MSc to the student. Engineering work (e.g., develop
    some website or fix bugs for the current application) are not considered suitable for a MSc
    thesis. The work should be defined as a project on its own, and it should not be the
    day-to-day business of the company.
  • Universities prefer theses to be publicly available and any differences between the
    involved institutions in terms of confidentiality conditions should be discussed and
    resolved before the start of the project.
  • The company should host the student for the entire period of the MSc thesis research (check the respective master program description for specific details).
  • The company should offer a great work environment for the student. We recommend
    companies to embed the student in one of the teams, so that the student feels really
    welcome. A company supervisor must be available for the student whenever they have
    questions.
  • The company supervisor gives feedback on the thesis draft as well as on the overall
    performance of the student.
  • The company supervisor should attend the final MSc thesis defense.
  • Although not compulsory, companies tend to offer a small stipend to support the student
    throughout this phase. If this takes the form of a contract, please note that non-EU students
    might not be allowed to sign contracts with companies, and a tripartite agreement might be needed.

How to get started

The first step is to find the best match between the university (and researcher) and the
company.

VERSEN offers such support. To get started, send us an e-mail to m.huisman@utwente.nl, with the following
information:

  • Overall information about the company. The name of the company, a link to the
    website, a short paragraph explaining the goal of the company, size of the company in
    terms of employees, and whether the company has experience with university
    collaborations.
  • Ideas for MSc thesis. Send us a couple ideas you have in mind for an MSc thesis.
    These ideas do not have to be concrete and are certainly not final. This is more for us to
    get a sense of which researcher in the country knows more about the topic. For
    example, “We want to improve our testing practices”, or “We want to design tools to
    support our developers in refactoring our legacy systems”
    , is already a good start.
  • Past/current collaborations with universities. If your company already collaborates
    with other universities (e.g., maybe some other team already has MSc interns?), list the
    names of the researchers supervising these interns.
  • Contact details. The name and e-mail of the main contact. This is the person that will
    be the main point of contact between the university and the company.

Once we receive all this information, we will start the matchmaking process.