Research Foundation News

November 16, 2020

Student innovators earn international recognitions, industry partnerships

miller-sonaware Quinci Miller, an alumna of industrial design, created a cookware technology. (Image provided)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University student innovators are receiving international awards for technologies that may be found one day in homes, hospitals and businesses.

The Purdue students are part of an innovative network that connects them and their ideas with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

The students work with professors, corporations, startups and other organizations to develop their ideas into products. They then work with OTC to protect those technologies with patents and look for commercialization opportunities.     

“I became involved with OTC when they came to review our senior posters,” said Quinci Miller, a 2019 graduate in industrial and product design. “They give you the confidence in your product and idea and allow you to gain protection.”

Miller, who is now a professional industrial designer, received international honors for her technology in 2019 at the Channel Cup Industrial Design Competition. Miller created a new design for cookware that helps to keep it cold or hot.

“Quinci is one of our many talented students and alumni who have received international awards and recognition for their designs and innovations,” said Cheryl Zhenyu Qian, an associate professor of industrial design. “One of the great things is that they receive these recognitions from a big variety of industries.”

TJ Kim, a professor of industrial design, said, “OTC is a wonderful partner for us in industrial design as they help take ideas and protect them and give invaluable insight into commercialization opportunities.”

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S.

“It is a privilege to be able to step in and help these students and faculty members work with industry to take these innovations to the next level,” said Dipak Narula, an assistant director for OTC. “We are fortunate to be surrounded by gifted talent here at Purdue.”

OTC also works with students in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute to take the innovations developed in their capstone courses and help protect and commercialize them.

“It’s really the best part of this job to see the looks of accomplishment when students come up with designs and technologies and then garner interest from industry or other avenues,” said Frederick Berry, a professor of engineering technology.

Berry said his students work in teams to develop technologies and partner with big corporations, small startups and national research laboratories.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office recently moved into the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2020, the office reported 148 deals finalized with 225 technologies signed, 408 disclosures received and 180 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact for more information.      

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at

Writer: Chris Adam, 

Dipak Narula,

Frederick Berry,

TJ Kim,

Quinci Miller,

Cheryl Zhenyu Qian,

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