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.
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