Established in 2011, the Smith Institute’s annual TakeAIM competition is an opportunity for university students to showcase their work on the industrial stage. TakeAIM’s goal is to highlight the crucial role mathematics plays in solving real-world problems while rewarding the academic exploration of future innovators who undertake pioneering research.

From medicine to manufacturing, security to social media, mathematics is evolving to play an increasingly fundamental role in the way we live. It is the fresh imagination and insights of young mathematical scientists that help to understand and predict the behaviour of physical, biological, and social systems in today’s ever-changing world.

Read the winning 2021 entries below!

Competition dates

Competition opens: 1st November, 2021
Early bird entry deadline: Midnight, 26th November, 2021
Competition closes: Midnight, 12th December, 2021
10th Anniversary Awards Ceremony: 10th March, 2022

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*Submit your entry early for a chance to win £50 of Amazon vouchers.



The entry

Within 250 words we want to hear about a piece of research that you have been directly involved in carrying out. What opportunities may be realised by its application and what are the possible future benefits in both economic and social terms? The key questions to consider are:

  • What is the idea behind the research?
  • Why is it novel?
  • What is its potential influence, and on whom?

You do not need to be working in a department of mathematics, but your research must be mathematical in nature.

The prize

With generous sponsorship from AstraZeneca, Dyson, EPSRC, NAG, Sembcorp, Syngenta and DSTL, the competition winner will receive £1,000. Prizes will also be awarded to the runners-up.

The winners and runners-up will be invited to present their research to TakeAIM sponsoring companies, industrial partners of the Smith Institute, and the wider academic community at the TakeAIM awards ceremony.



Entrants must be registered for a first or higher degree and studying at a European university on 25th October 2021. They need not be studying 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 from 1st November 2021 until midnight on Sunday 12th December 2021 using the TakeAIM entry form. Make sure you fill in all sections of the form. Entries are strictly limited to 250 words, plus an optional image.

We will send you an acknowledgement within two working days from your submission.

If you encounter any problems with the entry procedure, please send an email to takeaim@smithinst.co.uk.

Entries will be judged by the sponsoring companies 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.

Presentation and Award Ceremony videos from previous years, including a video of the 2017 first prize winner Elizabeth Holden, discussing her work and reaction to winning TakeAIM can be accessed here.

  1. Entries must be received using the above procedure by midnight on Sunday 13th December 2021.
  2. Early Bird draw: A single bonus prize of a £50 Amazon voucher will be drawn at random from entries received by midnight on Friday 26th November 2021.
  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 19th January 2022. First prize is £1,000 with runners-up also being rewarded.
  6. All 2021 entrants will be invited to the 10th Anniversary Awards Ceremony (delayed from 2020) at Imperial College London on 10th March 2022. Please save the date if you submit an entry.
  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 may be asked to partake in publicity for the competition such as reference in press releases, featured in the recording of presentations and video, as well as within published articles across various forms of media.


Entry Form