Protein chips, non-alcoholic gin, and ecologically sound structural boards — all products created using plant-based species — were among the top performers at the 26th annual Project SOY Plus competition.  

With the excitement of being back in person, the event held Friday, March 25 at the University of Guelph, showcased eight projects from 21 students enrolled in programs at the Ridgetown and main U of G campuses. 

These entrepreneurial-spirited students competed for cash prizes awarded in the diploma, undergraduate and graduate categories. First place in each group won $2,500, second place received $1,000 and third place earned $500. 

Diploma category winners

Nicole Hiddema displays her award-winning ECO-OSB

In the diploma category, first place was awarded to: 


Nicole Hiddema
Environmentally conscious strand boards made from corn crop debris (Prof. Mike Gladstone, Plant Agriculture) 

The Green Duck members: Tiffany Siu, Kaylie Mitchell, Wanxin Xue, and Laura Hanley

Undergraduate category winners

The teams topping the undergraduate category (in descending order) were as follows: 

The Green Duck

Tiffany Siu, Kaylie Mitchell, Wanxin Xue, and Laura Hanley
A plant-based protein chip made of duckweed and spent greens (Dr. Lisa Duzier, Food Science)  

A-maize-ing Bio Blisters

Nicole Harder, Jeffrey Lim, Susan Debevc
Biodegradable and plant-based blister packages (Drs. Manjusri Misra, Engineering and Amar Mohanty, Plant Agriculture)  


Olivia Lennon
An all-natural cream designed specifically for use on tattoos with functional and environmental benefits (Dr. Lisa Duzier, Food Science)  

FemmeBotanique members:
Brooke Adams, Karlie Pluim, Kyra Scott and Rachel von Holt

Graduate category winners

The top awards at the graduate level (in descending order) were presented to: 


Brooke Adams, Karlie Pluim, Kyra Scott and Rachel von Holt
A woman-owned non-alcoholic functional gin beverage (Dr. William Bettger, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences) 

Sentinel Packaging – DropDeter

Peter Zytner, Ehsan Pasaranhajiabbas, Fatemeh Jahangiri and Aarsha Surendren
A biodegradable alternative to shock indicators to protect packages and shipment (Drs. Manjusri Misra, Engineering and Amar Mohanty, Plant Agriculture) 

Other entries this year included a high-protein vodka water beverage and environmentally sustainable cosmetics using food waste.  

Competitors can go on to develop their concept into a marketable product with help of the Research Innovation Office (RIO) and the John F. Wood Centre for Business and Student Enterprise. The Hub Incubator Program through the Wood Centre offers eligible teams and other U of G students or alumni the chance to evolve their ideas and receive funding up to $4000.  

“Project SOY Plus continues to be an incredible platform for students to explore sustainable and innovative solutions using agricultural resources,” said Jessica Bowes, assistant vice-president, research (innovation and knowledge mobilization). “We were all thrilled to celebrate the students’ hard work and creative achievements in person this year.” 

This year’s competition was sponsored by the Research Innovation Office. 

For behind-the-scenes content, check the Project SOY Plus Instagram page and the Instagram accounts of the Research Innovation Office and John F. Wood Centre.