Invent Oregon is an exciting competition for college and university students with ideas for inventions to address today’s most pressing problems. Through the Invent Oregon program, students are empowered through mentorship and education to see themselves as innovators. They receive up to $2,500 in development grants to take their invention from an idea to a working prototype while learning about the process of commercialization. At the Invent Oregon Collegiate Challenge finals, students present their invention and compete for $30,000 in cash prizes.

Invent Oregon is the state’s only college-level prototyping competition, providing the grants and guidance necessary to take a student team’s idea for positive impact through all stages of prototyping. Invent Oregon helps college students at all levels take their concept from an idea to reality.

Invent Oregon is grateful to our presenting sponsors including the Lemelson Foundation, Business Oregon, The Oregon Community Foundation and PSU's Center for Entrepreneurship.


We define inventions as a new, innovative, and tangible product, process, or service that affects the communities and environment in a positive way including in areas of energy, food, transportation, housing, and health. The innovations can be consumer products, industrial, commercial, municipal processes or technologies, micro products, and nanotechnology or anything that solves a community problem around the planet.

Submissions must be a physical invention. For example, we discourage lifestyle apps and standalone software. We do, however, accept and encourage the use of technology as part of a physical invention.



Invent Oregon was started in 2017 by the PSU Center for Entrepreneurship with support from the Lemelson Foundation. The competition grew from just a handful of competing schools to a truly statewide program with 20 schools — from private universities to community colleges — participating from across the state.


Nine student teams representing five universities participated in the first InventOR Collegiate Challenge. The finals were held at Portland’s Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) with teams pitching their concepts in front of the giant screens of the Empirical Theater. Nexgarden, a team from Portland State University working on a high-efficiency indoor farming system, took home the top prize.


Twenty-one student teams representing 11 universities and community colleges from across Oregon converged in Klamath Falls for the 2018 InventOR Collegiate Challenge Finals held on the beautiful campus of Oregon Tech. Produce Mate, a team from the University of Portland that developed a silicone mat designed to keep fruits and vegetables from spoiling and reduce food waste was the top prize winner.


Participating student teams

Participating institutions



Participating student teams

Participating institutions



In 2019, the InventOR Collegiate Challenge Finals returned to Portland, taking place at Portland State University’s Viking Pavilion. Following a semifinal competition in May, 21 teams advanced to the finals representing 17 colleges and universities from across the state. The Reclaimers, a team from Oregon Tech that developed a system for rural communities to recycle waste plastic into crude oil, won the top prize


Participating student teams

Participating institutions



2020 was a challenging year for all Oregonians experiencing lockdowns and social distancing. This year, InventOR hosted a virtual competition with 18 teams competing from 11 schools. All teams advanced to finals and in the end, Safe Start, a Lewis and Clark team developing an anti-drunk driving device took first place.


Participating student teams

Participating institutions