AIMday format gets its North American premiere
2 May 2017
At the end of March, the University of Saskatchewan in Canada held its first AIMday meeting, thereby introducing the popular collaborative format from Uppsala University to North America.
The University of Saskatchewan, one of Canada’s most prominent research universities, is situated in Saskatoon in the west Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The university hosted a meeting in accordance with the AIMday format, where companies and researchers are brought together to discuss solutions to specific challenges within the industry, in an efficient way. The format has been developed by Uppsala University Innovation and has over the last few years been adopted by several universities around the world. Now the turn had come to North America and the University of Saskatchewan in collaboration with the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) and the regional partner universities the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“We are proud to be the first university to introduce Uppsala University’s AIMday format to North America, which is positive to us in many ways,” says Johannes Dyring, Managing Director of Innovation Enterprise – the University of Saskatchewan’s organisation for commercialisation and entrepreneurship. “I think that AIMday is the perfect start to many new international collaborations, in particular with Sweden.”
As an Uppsala University alumnus and former managing director of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences’ holding company, Johannes Dyring has followed the development of the AIMday format from up close, and with great interest, since it was established in 2008. As soon as the opportunity arose, he took the chance and presented the idea to try out the format.
“When I discussed with our collaboration partner the IMII how we could bring industry and research together in a more innovative and effective way within the regionally very important mining and mineral field I immediately thought of AIMday, which has proven its value and quality over many years,” says Dyring.
The AIMday format quickly gained enthusiastic support from the board of the IMII and internally at the University of Saskatchewan. So that was that. Together with his colleague Amit Shukla, later project manager for their AIMday Minerals, he contacted Uppsala University Innovation and in December last year they both travelled to Uppsala for a few days’ training in the AIMday format.
“It is actually pretty cool to be able to launch a collaboration and project such as this across nearly half the globe, so quickly and efficiently. It has also been fun and rewarding to work with the team at Uppsala University Innovation,” says Dyring.
There was great interest for AIMday Minerals at the University of Saskatchewan. Together with five major international companies within the mining and mineral industry, 26 research topics were selected, says Dyring. 20 representatives from the companies took part as well as a total of 39 researchers from the three participating universities.
“We naturally hope that new research collaborations will be established as a result of the meeting, but another goal is also to bring together parties which haven’t collaborated before and to stimulate innovative thinking. We believe that just getting to know each other in an effective and constructive way makes it easier to find new opportunities for collaboration in the future,” says Dyring.
It is also very possible that there will be more AIMday meetings at the University of Saskatchewan in the future.
“We are already discussing new themes, and companies of different sizes as well as researchers from completely different fields have shown great interest and are looking forward to the development of AIMday here,” says Dyring.
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AIMday is a simple but unique meeting format – one question, one hour, one expert group. It allows for efficient meetings where companies and organisations can raise current and relevant questions in specific areas with researchers from different scientific fields. AIMday gives both industry and academia opportunities to find new solutions, contacts, continuing professional development and collaboration.