LOCEN Resources How To Do a Thesis or Research Collaboration with LOCEN

LOCEN: How To Do a Thesis (or ''junior collaboration'') with the group



This section gives information about: (a) the conditions of collaboration with LOCEN; (b) the possible research topics to be investigated in collaboration with LOCEN; (c) the information to send to use to propose to collabroate.

Conditions of collaboration with LOCEN

Collaboration research can be conducted within: (a) University thesis research, in particular for students of Universtity of Rome ''La Sapienza'' who desire to make an MA thesis (laurea magistrale) under the co-supervision of LOCEN; (b) Informal ''junior collaborations'' for people who aim to gain research skills possessed by LOCEN research group; (c) other viable forms of collaboration proposed by the interested students.

Note that the student/researcher asking to collaborate with LOCEN has to self-fund during the period of collaboration as unfortunately LOCEN does not have resources to support this (see further details below).

Collaborating with LOCEN is demanding but also very rewarding since it offers the opportunity to do research in a professional environment, within a strongly interdisciplinary team, using cutting-edge technologies, and focusing on topics at the frontiers of our current understanding of human behavior. LOCEN's overall mission is to do research on ''autonomous cumulative learning in organisms and robots'' and this is specified in a number of detailed topics, as illustrated below and in other parts of this web site of the group.

''Forming'' a student/junior researcher to use LOCEN research methods and topics is time demanding for LOCEN, so we will assign theses to and accept collaborations only with students who have the potential, in terms of interests and skills, to positively contribute to do research. More in detail, we assign theses and collaborations at these conditions:

  • The candidate student/junior researcher is highly motivated, is responsible and reliable, and has the capacity (or the potential to acquire such capacity) to investigate the topics of the group with one of the investigation methods used by the group. This assures that he/she can positively contribute to the research activities of the group. A way through which the presence of these elements will be evaluated by LOCEN is the submission of a curriculum (see last part of this page) and a possible following face-to-face meeting.
  • The students/junior researcher can get from the thesis/collaboration: (a) the pleasure to contribute to do research in first person, in collaboration with experienced researchers; (b) the acquisition of knowledge and skills on the various phases of research: decision of broad research topic, literature review, identification of a specific important problem to face and intuition on possible solution, design of a computational model/ desgn of an empirical expriment, programming and tuning of the model/ implementation of the empirical experiment, analysis of the results, writing up a paper reporting the resuts of the research, publication of the paper, oral presentation of the work; (c) the acquisition of the knowledge on the topics investigated by LOCEN, and the skills related to the investigation methods used by the group.
  • The theses/collaborations will be assigned only on LOCEN's topics (see below) for which LOCEN has expertise, problems to investigates, and effective methods to investigate them. In this respect, the student/junior researcher will be associated with the research of one/two members of LOCEN and given an amount of autonomy depending and growing on the basis of the student's knowledge and skills. The student is expected to be proactive, creative, and critical in constructive ways.
  • Important: LOCEN unfortunately does not have resources to fund students and internships. The student/junior researcher who is willing to collaborate with LOCEN has to be capable of self-funding during the thesis/collaboration. LOCEN funds only more senior researchers who have gone through a period of collaboration with the group during which they have acquired a large experience with the group's method and research topics; moreover, even in these cases the funding is possible only if the group has funds for that (the group depends entirely on European research projects which strongly vary in time).


List of possible research topics for research theses, to carry out with LOCEN


Here we lists the open positions for theses/research collaborations that LOCEN offers to candidates at the moment. The links of the list point to web-pages indicating for each topic the detailes on the research topics/problems/methods, and the requested profile of the candidate. If you are interested in one of these research theses/collaborations, follow the application procedure indicated in the last section of the page.

Autonomous robotics

Computational and robotic models of learning of goal and skill repertoires driven by intrinsic motivations

Dynamic movement primitives and reinforcement learning in robots: generalisation and compositionality

Computer science applications

Developing an open-source software system for a low-cost eye tracker

Developing a virtual reality system for psychological experiments with apes and humans 

Developing Android applications for medical diagnosis and therapy

Bio-constraints models of brain and behaviour

Bio-constrained models of goal-directed and habitual behaviour

Computational system-level models of psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases

Dynamical reservoire computational models of basal ganglia-cortex loop (under construction; avilable in the future)

Psychobiology empirical experiments

Psychobiology experiments on goal-directed behaviour with rats/mice 

Cognitive psychology empirical experiments

Cognitive psychology experiments on intrinsic motivations


Application to ask a thesis or research collaboration with LOCEN

To propose a thesis or research collabroation on one of the above topics, send an email to Gianluca Baldassarre and tell him you wish to carry out a thesis/research with LOCEN briefly explaining the motivation and your situation.

Attach to the email a separate .pdf file containing the following detailed information:

  • Name, last name, age, where you live.
  • Explanation of why you contacted LOCEN, with a general indication of what you would like to do together with LOCEN.
  • Your research interests in relation to one or more of the above areas.
  • The knowledge and skills in relation to one or more of the three areas above, of interest of the candidate.
  • Your situation at the university (specify in which stage you are: bachelor/laurea triennale, master/laurea specialistica; finished exams or not; doing thesis or not, and when you plan to submit it).
  • List of exams with marks.
  • Type of high school (scuola superiore) and final marks.
  • Approximate availability of time to invest in the research (days and hours per week; for how many months).
  • Constraints (e.g.: ''I have to finish the thesis within 1 year'').
  • Availability of funds (from funding agencies; from self-funding).
  • Other information that might be relevant.