The history of AIMday

A simple but ingenious measure – to let representatives from organizations define the agenda by submitting questions that they want to discuss with university’s scientists – forms the basis of the successful AIMday concept.
The idea originated within the Ångström Materials Academy at Uppsala University, which arranged its first Materials Day in 2008. The success was immediate. The industrial companies got expert feedback on issues of importance to them, the academic scientists gained valuable insights into what kind of issues that are important to industry, ideas for further research were generated and various forms of collaborations started.

New subject areas
Since then the use of the AIMday concept has been extended to other disciplinary areas, like life science and the humanities and social sciences. Here the concept has proven itself just as well as in materials science.

Success factors
The preliminary work done by the organizers is key to the success of an AIMday event. The ability to put together discussion groups with relevant and knowledgeable researchers is critical. The university representatives must cover various disciplines and include senior researchers and the questions submitted must be ‘translated’ into issues that academic scientists can readily relate to.

Objective and outcome
The objective is not to provide answers during the hour that a discussion group meeting lasts, however. As much as a solution or help to find a solution is a great outcome of the discussions, the new constellations of people and competences that are brought together help identify various ways to further elaborate on the issue, and open new possibilities for rewarding collaborations.

In 2011 the use of funding of pre-studies as a way to facilitate the start of collaborative projects was tested with great success.

The AIMday concept has also earned the attention of VINNOVA and the Swedish Steel Producers’ Association Jernkontoret, among others. It has also been recognized among other Swedish universities of which some have been involved in organizing AIMday events. In order to ensure the continued high quality of all AIMday events as the expansion of the concept continues, AIMday® has been registered as a trademark by Uppsala University.