CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate) is a framework for management and continuous development of education programs. The framework has been used within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Linköping University since the framework was formed, and it is a vital part of the system for quality management of the education programs. The framework was originally designed for engineering programs, but it has been extended to cover all education programs within the Faculty of Science and Engineering. 

About CDIO

The acronym CDIO (Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate) is meant to represent the entire life cycle of a product, process, or system from an identified need, or an idea, via design and implementation to the operation of the product, and finally taking it out of operation. The CDIO framework consists of four main components:

• A characterization (“definition”) of the professional role the education program is leading to.
• Goals for the knowledge and skills that are expected in the professional role the education program is aiming for. The goals are specified using the LiTH Syllabus, which is an evolution of the CDIO Syllabus.
• Goals and guidelines for how an education programs should be designed so that it enables for the students to reach the goals. These guidelines are defined in the CDIO Standards.
• Methods and tools to work systematically with the development of the education programs.

Why use the CDIO framework?

There are several good reasons to use the framework when working with development of education programs, and the most important arguments are:

  • All education programs need continuous development to ensure the quality and that the education program enable for the students to reach the goals. The CDIO framework offer a systematic way to do this.
  • CDIO can be seen as “structured common sense”. The key questions have always been in focus when working with education programs, but the CDIO framework offer a systematic way to work with them.
  • Over the years a lot of experiences and good examples have been developed and can be accessed via the network.

Background and organization

During the first years the CDIO Initiative was a collaboration project between Linköping University, Chalmers University, and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) from Sweden and MIT from the USA, with financial support from the Wallenberg foundation. Today the CDIO Initiative has developed into a global network with more than one hundred collaborating universities. More information about the background can be found via

The network is led by the CDIO Council, consisting of 15 persons, including two Co-directors, the leaders of the different regions (one per region) and six members-at-large (normally elected two by two) for a period of three years. In the election each participating institution has one vote each. The composition of the different regions and the corresponding leaders can be found via the link About on the site The Co-directors are elected for two years, and information about the current co-directors can be found via The network, including the web site, is managed by the CDIO Office, which is located at Chalmers University, Sweden.


The main activity of the network is the annual conference, the International CDIO Conference, which normally is arranged in June. A list of previous and upcoming conferences can be found via the link Meetings on It can be mentioned that Linköping University arranged the 2nd International CDIO Conference in 2006. The conference contains plenary and parallel sessions, poster sessions, roundtable discussions, and workshops. The first submission of papers is normally in November. In addition to the annual conference, there is a work meeting for the entire network in November. There are also meetings on regional and national levels. Time and place for these meetings, previous as well as upcoming, are presented via the link Meetings.

Upcoming conference