Engineering education for a better world – 2016 CDIO conference in Turku

The CDIO initiative is an international network of universities educating engineers. The network started at the end of the 1990s with four universities. Since then the network has grown and today has over 100 universities worldwide.

The CDIO network meets regularly and one of the key annual meetings is the international CDIO conference. The next annual CDIO conference will be held in Turku at the ICT City building next summer, June 12–16, 2016. The conference website provides a lot of detailed information about the conference.

The CDIO approach aims to enhance engineering education to develop graduates capable of creating a better world. The approach provides an innovative educational framework for educating the next generation of engineers. The key elements of learning and teaching in CDIO are the connections to working life and real-world engineering situations. Students are working in real projects and have lots of hands-on practice.

Support for participants

The CDIO approach supports universities and programmes in education development by offering tools for improvement. There are 12 CDIO standards that describe the important elements of teaching and learning. The standards view education from different viewpoints:

  • the education context
  • curriculum
  • competencies,
  • workspaces
  • learning methods
  • staff skills and competencies
  • assessment and continuous improvement

In addition, there is a CDIO syllabus that provides key competencies for engineering programmes besides the core technical topics. Finally, the true strength of the network is the people. Those active individuals who share the same enthusiasm for improving engineering education.

Network built on trust and sharing

The international conferences and other annual meetings offer good opportunities to meet other educators and education developers face-to-face and discuss successes and failures in education.

Turku University of Applied Sciences has been a member of the international CDIO initiative since 2007. We started with ICT engineering programmes, but since then the CDIO framework has been used in other engineering programmes such as Chemical Engineering and also non-engineering programmes such as Business. The CDIO approach has been consistently used in various development activities. To summarise the effect: our teaching and learning has strengthened the connections to working life practices, competence requirements and needs. The CDIO approach also supports the implementation of innovation pedagogy, which is pedagogical ideology developed in our university.

Next summer, hopefully over 300 engineering educators, deans, administrators, education developers and others will meet in Turku. The main theme of the conference is Enhancing Innovation Competencies through advances in engineering education. Engineering education will be discussed in keynote sessions, parallel sessions, workshops and round tables.

Special in CDIO 2016

One special character of CDIO conferences is a full-day introductory workshop on CDIO. This workshop is targeted at those participants who are new to CDIO or who have only short experience of the CDIO approach. The introductory workshop will cover the basic principles of the CDIO approach, such as design-build projects, active learning and programme evaluation.

In addition to the programme targeted at educators and so on, there is a student-focused part of the conference called the CDIO Academy. In the CDIO Academy 2016, students will have an opportunity to exhibit their CDIO skills when solving and creating solutions to challenging, real-world problems. The problems are connected to pre-selected themes arising from the strategy of Turku University of Applied Sciences:

Digitalisation, Multitechnological Marine Cluster and Circular Economy.

The academy project assignments are from local industry and international student teams will work on the assignments from May until the beginning of the conference. During the conference the work will take place in the format of an innovation camp.

There are many possibilities for you to participate in the conference. You can submit a full paper, workshop proposal or poster according to the deadlines. The last deadline to submit proposals is February 7, 2016. That is the deadline for projects in progress category. These contributions describe current activities and initial development results and allow an opportunity to share them with other conference attendees.

Whether you are submitting something or not, you can register for the conference to learn, discuss and network with other conference participants!

You are welcome and invited to join the CDIO conference!


Juha Kontio

Dean, Faculty of Business, ICT and Chemical Engineering

In this issue