Purdue University Student Soybean Innovation Competition

Click HERE for this year's recruitment video!


The purpose of the Soybean Innovation 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.



The Student Soybean Innovation Competitions at Purdue, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance, has been highly successful. The contest has 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 soybean 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.

Project Elements


The projects will include the following:

  • Thorough Research Notebook
  • Product Idea/Bibliography
  • Timeline
  • Patent Search/Literature Review
  • Market Analysis
  • Budget/Vendor Table
  • Technical Process Summary 1 & 2
  • Packaging
  • Final Report
  • Team Presentation


Development of new industrial applications/products/processing involving soybeans or their components through their application to replace existing products/processes or the development of new uses highlighting:

  • Technical benefits
  • Feasibility (economic/technical)
  • Environmental benefits
  • Must be a novel application, not currently commercialized or in development

General Rules

  1. ALL submitted products, works, or ideas become SOLE property of Purdue University.
  2. Each product team must be composed of at least TWO and no more than FOUR full time undergraduate students enrolled at Purdue University and TWO FACULTY ADVISORS.  Seniors on track to graduate and in their last semester will be allowed to participate in part time status.  Your team of up to four people may include two graduate students. One of your advisors must have technical expertise.
  3. Individuals may NOT participate simultaneously on different teams.
  4. Your product MUST BE A NOVEL APPLICATION, not currently commercialized or in development.
  5. All work must be the original work of the team.
  6. Your advisors must have signed off that you have had lab Safety & training before you may perform any lab work.
  7. Students are not allowed to test their products/prototypes on human or animal subjects in any way.
  8. To be eligible to present your product at the awards ceremony your team must have been able to produce a product prototype.
  9. The judge’s decisions on the awards will be FINAL.