About This Program
MissionThe purpose of these competitions is to encourage Purdue University students to exercise their knowledge and skills in creating new industrial products from soybeans. The use of natural renewable resources for creation of industrial products is a critical factor for future economic growth, given dwindling petroleum resources and increased emphasis on industrial environmental stewardship.
Student teams will enter a competition to create novel products or materials using soybeans or their components focusing on the production or implementation of an example product/material. Working in teams, with two faculty advisors, students will brainstorm product ideas, create a production timeline, conduct patent searches, develop a market analysis, document the technical process of creating their product/material, design packaging, and market their product/material.
BackgroundThe Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition at Purdue, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance, has been highly successful. These contests have produced numerous commercialized products, with various concepts and ideas that have stimulated potential industrial interest. It has also produced graduates who understand the value and importance of utilizing renewable resources, such as soybeans, for industrial and food products. Past students who have participated in this competition have gone on to work for companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Favorite Brands, Nestles, M&M Mars, Kroger Foods, and Union Carbide, as well as entering advanced graduate studies and medical school. They continue to champion the use of soybean and corn components in the development of snack foods, fat substitutes, industrial chemical intermediates, and cosmetics in their respective companies. One past participant even went on to open his own soy products company!
Student innovation contests sponsored by industry are an excellent learning tool for students. Through these projects, students gain practical experience in utilizing their coursework education to develop products/processes, learning about specific new technical areas, and applying economic, technical and marketing feasibility. Industry gains novel ideas for potential commercial development, as well as developing future potential employees.