Community Driven Technology Innovation and Investment (CDTII) is a new approach to mutually beneficial community-university engagement that seeks to use technological expertise at Oregon State University to engineer innovative solutions to pressing community challenges. The threefold CDTII goal is to create meaningful engagement with community partners to build trust and understand challenges, harness university based innovation in response to identified challenges, and sustain partnership and community development through workforce development.


Engineering Design Toolkit

This is a low cost Engineering Design Toolkit for STEM attraction and retention.


The Sope project was our first opportunity to create an ecosystem of community engaged engineering. Three ladies from Monroe, Oregon, wanted to start a food processing business in which they would sell Sopes (think hard shelled tortilla cups in the shape) to the local Co-op.


Broad Impacts in Oregon

The workforce development prong of the CDTII stool is in direct response to the 40-40-20 goal set by the Oregon State Legislature. As part of CDTII, PiGroup and our affiliates engage with younger members of the community to explain the engineering process behind the devices being introduced and potential impact on community life. This is geared toward developing the “social relevance” and “knowledge” requirements of science identity formation. High science identity has been linked to enrollment and retention in science and engineering disciplines.

The CDTII program addresses the Governor’s challenges in the following ways:

  1. The Livability Challenge is addressed through innovative solutions that can protect and improve the quality of life in Oregonian communities
  2. The Education Challenge is addressed through context-specific workforce development programs to (a) provide a community sourced workforce for businesses that could grow out of the university-sourced solution, and (b) attract and retain STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students.

Broad Impacts beyond Oregon

  • An engagement framework for technology based projects
  • An experiment on the role of universities in the new learning (as opposed to education/teaching) focused environment
  • Addresses NAE Grand Challenges by
  • Increasing interest in science, engineering, and technical entrepresnuership
  • Increasing visibility of the social impact of science and engineering
  • Creating cross-disciplinary collaborations to devise holistic, long term solutions.

The Pi Group is housed in the College of Engineering, and works with partners in Rural Studies, CL@SE, the Humanitarian Engineering Program and the School of Public Policy.

How does the CDTII help create an ecosystem of engaged engineering? Dr. Eseonu Explains

Our community partners describe their experience (starting at 9:19)