All universities are trying to establish the best methods of knowledge exchange and, up to now, this has taken something of a scattergun approach. This is why we are encouraged by the prospect of the structured method offered by AIMday.
The AIMday Process
In a world characterised by numerous attempts to achieve knowledge exchange, AIMday stands out as a textbook example of how universities can go about this without re-inventing the wheel.
AIMday is a well established process
From preparatory work to follow-up – about six to eight months – with six defined steps.
Plan & Prepare
The preparatory work is key and includes a number of activities ranging from planning the AIMday timeline, selecting a theme, building a winning project team to defining target organisations and potential academics to invite. Other activities are of a more practical nature such as booking a suitable venue and producing marketing material.
Invite organisations to submit questions
When you have defined target organisations for your AIMday, it’s time to put your marketing strategy in practice. To take part in AIMday, organisations must submit at least one question – that is their entrance ticket. Questions that are concrete, clear, consise and that can be discussed in an open forum work best for the AIMday format.
Encourage academics to sign up for questions
Academics self-select challenges, and prioritize, based on their specific competence and research interest. Since the idea is to bring different perspectives to each question you need to invite a wide variety of researchers to achieve broad academic participation. Group discussions are multidisciplinary and aimed at exploring possible solutions. The researchers do not need to know everything about the question being discussed. Nor is it expected that they provide detailed answers during the discussion.
Matchmaking and scheduling
Finding a perfect match for each question put forward by organisations is a main priority of the AIMday organiser. Based on researchers’ priorities and availability, the organiser does the logistics for an all-day-schedule that ensures efficiency and involvement of all attendees. To assist in this endeavor you have the web-based AIMday optimisation tool that will save you a lot of time and increase quality. Furthermore, the AIMday administrative tools allow you to download personalised schedules for each participant. Participants can also view and download their schedules online on your dedicated AIMday website.
If you have done all your preparatory work – enjoy! Still, you have to be prepared for last minute changes. Have registration lists, contact details and extra printouts of everything. Bring your full team. Not only because an extra pair of hands can come in handy, but also to seize the opportunity to network and make contacts with the participants.
The main aim of AIMday is to act as a launch pad to explore and initiate collaborative projects further down the line. Follow-up activities enable an insight into how cooperative activities develop over the long-term but also what AIMday has contributed to in the short term. How the follow-up is carried out in practice is determined by the concrete goals set initially by the AIMday organiser.