TakeAIM 2017

This competition closed on 17th October 2017.

Describe your research in 250 words for a chance to win £1,000 of Apple vouchers.

Congratulations to Fiona Macfarlane, University of St Andrews, who won our early bird entry prize draw.

About TakeAIM

Organised by the Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and System Engineering and enabled by the generous sponsorship of Dyson, Babcock International, EPSRC, GCHQ, National Nuclear Laboratory, NAG, QinetiQ, Satellite Applications Catapult and Syngenta, the goal of TakeAIM 2017 is to make visible the crucial role that mathematics plays and will increasingly play in all aspects of our lives.

The next few decades will see fundamental changes in the way we live, work and communicate. The mathematical sciences will have ever greater influence on shaping how we interact with friends, colleagues and neighbours, on the goods and services that we use, on how we maintain our health, how we travel and how we consume natural resources.

Whatever these innovations are, they will be underpinned by mathematics. Research in mathematical sciences is happening right now and will be crucial to our future economy and social well-being. Rapid advances in capacity for computing and data handling are creating opportunities that can be exploited through the imagination and insights of mathematical scientists. Their work will build upon the stunning successes of mathematics in understanding and predicting the behaviour of physical, biological, and social systems.

The TakeAIM competition highlights some of the areas where new thinking is coming over the horizon, with influence far outside the academic world. It enables young researchers to express in their own words and for a general audience the potential future impact of their work.

You can read the previous winners and runners-up publications here.

How to enter

Thinking of participating? Let us know you plan to submit an entry by emailing the title of your research topic and university affiliation to takeaim@smithinst.co.uk. We'd also love to know how you heard about the competition.

Each entry to the competition must be based upon a piece of research that the entrant has been directly involved in carrying out, explaining:

  • what is the idea behind the piece of research?
  • why is it novel?
  • what is its potential influence, and on whom?

Entrants must be registered for a first or higher degree and studying at a European university on 18th October 2017. They need not be working in a department of mathematics, but their research must be mathematical in nature. Entries can be drawn from all areas of pure and applied mathematics, statistics or operational research. It is anticipated that in many cases the research that underpins entries will be work in progress.

Entries can be submitted now using the online TakeAIM 2017 Entry Form. Give your entry a title, of the form “TakeAIM: ” followed by your name and the university at which you are registered. Make sure you fill in all sections of the form. Once your entry is complete, press the “submit” button.

TakeAIM Entry Form

Send an email to takeaim@smithinst.co.uk to inform us that you have submitted your entry. We will send you an acknowledgement within two working days. The competition will close at midnight on Tuesday 17th October 2017.

Remember that entries are strictly limited to 250 words, plus an optional image. If you encounter any problems with the entry procedure, please send an email to takeaim@smithinst.co.uk.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • the opportunities that the research opens up;
  • the possible future benefits, in both economic and social terms;
  • the quality of communication for a general audience.

The influence on mathematics itself, or on other areas of science, is not part of the judging criteria. Instead, entrants should describe the potential benefits of their work in relation to industry, the public sector, government, or society more generally.

General rules

  1. Entries must be received using the above procedure by midnight on Tuesday 18th October 2017.
  2. A single bonus prize of a £50 Amazon voucher will be drawn at random from early bird entries received by midnight on 29th September 2017.
  3. An individual may submit multiple entries, but each entry must relate to distinct pieces of work, and no individual will win more than one prize.
  4. The entries will be judged by representatives of the Smith Institute and the sponsoring companies.
  5. The winners will be contacted by 6th November 2017. First prize is £1,000 of Apple vouchers and runners up will be rewarded too.
  6. The winners will be invited to the awards ceremony in Oxford on 20th November 2017.
  7. In addition to 250 words and an optional image, entries may contain a single reference to a web page or other publication. This information will not be used during the judging of the competition but serves as a pointer for further reading.
  8. Entries may be published on the Smith Institute website at a future date.

Winners and runners-up:

      1. Linnea_F_image
        Linnéa Franßen [2016]
      2. Stephen_K_image
        Stephen Kissler [2016]
      3. Georg_M_image
        Georg Maierhofer [2015]
      4. Anton_M_image
        Anton Martinsson [2015]
      5. Hélène_C_image
        Hélène Cecilia [2015]
      6. Luca_C_image
        Luca Calatroni [2014]
      7. Eoin_D_image
        Eoin Devane [2014]
      8. James_C_image
        James Cowley[2014]
      9. knee_lowres
        Anna Cederlund [2013]
      10. pills_lowres
        Dominic Magirr [2011]
      11. lights_lowres
        Ellen Webborn [2013]
      12. landmine_lowres
        Francis Watson [2013]
      1. Nicholas_W_image
        Nicholas Wong [2016]
      2. Robbie_P_image
        Robbie Peck [2016]
      3. James_M_image
        James Mathews [2015]
      4. Justice_A_image
        Justice Aheto [2015]
      5. Rachael_B_image
        Rachael Bonnebaigt [2015]
      6. Peter_B_image
        Peter Baddoo [2014]
      7. Radu_C_image
        Radu Cimpeanu [2014]
      8. vase_lowres
        Ingrid von Glehn [2011]
      9. speaker_lowres
        Josef Janovsky [2012]
      10. pressure_lowres
        Leonor Garcia Gutierrez [2013]
      11. molecule_lowres
        Neville Boon [2012]


As an engineer and scientist, I use mathematics on a daily basis, but only acknowledge how useful it is occasionally. Participating in, and of course winning TakeAIM, and having the chance to learn about the cutting edge work that others are doing, has enhanced my appreciation for mathematics. Perhaps now I can consider myself, to some basic degree, a mathematician, and join the ranks of everyone in this noble field."

Nicholas WongTakeAIM 2016 Winner, University of Southampton

I'm thrilled to have won TakeAIM! Winning the competition has encouraged me that communicating research with a diverse audience is a valuable skill, and one that I want to continue to develop.

Rachael BonnebaigtTakeAIM 2015 Winner, University of Cambridge

I am extremely honoured of being awarded the TakeAIM prize for my research in Image Processing... My area of research mixes together the passion and the creativity that doing Mathematics requires with the capability and the surprising power of designing models that could be helpful in real applications...

Luca CalatroniTakeAIM 2014 Winner, University of Cambridge

Winning the TakeAIM Competition gave me the unique opportunity to give a talk about my project to industry representatives, has attracted attention towards my research, and has increased my confidence.

Leonor Garcia GutierrezTakeAIM 2013 Winner, Warwick University
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