Researchneedsideas,discourseandexperimentationinordertothrive,butmore than ever we are expected to make researchimmediately ‘relevant’ and available to society and the world of commerce. Of these three poles (ideas, discourse and experimentation), ideas lie farthest from a ?nished product, and it is therefore ideas that are most easily left behind in the rush to catch the gravy train. The pressure to prioritize applications rather than understanding hinders researchers from thinking deeply about problems, and in the worst case prevents us from truly understanding and innovating. The ?rst Autonomous Infrastructure Management and Security conference (AIMS2007)wasproposedasanactofoptimismbytheleadersoftheEMANICS Network of Excellence in Network and Service Management. It was a proposal aimed at avoiding the tar-pit of “apply existing knowledge only, ” to reach out for new ideas that might expand our network of concepts and solutions. Therearealreadymanyexcellentconferencesinthe?eldofNetworkofSystem Management : LISA, IM, NOMS, DSOM, Policy Workshop, etc. Although there is an overlap, both in attendance and ideas, AIMS does not compete with any of these. Rather we have sought a strong cross-disciplinary forum, in which novelty and discussion are made paramount. An additional objective of AIMS is to provide a forum for doctoral students, the future leaders of our research, to discuss their research with a wider audience and receive training to help make their research careers successful. To this end, AIMS incorporates a European PhD Student Symposium and a tutorial programme that covers a broad range of topics.