The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, signed an agreement with the University of Cincinnati (UC), Cincinnati, to operate an innovation lab within the school's 1819 Innovation Hub.

"Kroger's new partnership with the University of Cincinnati is one more way we are investing to create the now and future of retail," says Chris Hjelm, executive vice president and chief information officer, Kroger. "This innovative collaboration is driven by Restock Kroger and provides the Kroger technology team another creative space to partner and develop solutions to redefine the grocery customer experience." 

The 1819 Innovation Hub is a state-of-the-art space located in the Uptown Innovation Corridor for thinking, making, doing, discovery and delivery.

Kroger will staff the 1819 Innovation Hub with resources, including R&D engineers and software developers, alongside UC faculty. The partnership will also feature a dynamic student co-op and internship program.

"The 1819 Innovation Hub is a co-working community where we will build and discover the next generation of technology and talent," adds Hjelm. "Our vision is to create a talent pipeline that supports our business and positions the region as a place for digital and technology students and professionals."

"As the anchor tenant of our burgeoning innovation district, UC's 1819 Innovation Hub is a microcosm of the bigger picture," says David Adams, chief innovation officer for UC. "Companies are choosing to co-locate here with us for proximity and access to the talent that a major research university provides. As the district comes to life with residential and retail options, the mix of students, faculty, industry and community that you see in our knowledge action center today will spill out into the surrounding neighborhood, making innovation a visual place in Cincinnati."

The 1819 Innovation Hub boasts a 12,000-square-foot makerspace and micro-factory, with state-of-the art classrooms and multi-purpose rooms. Kroger's 2,500-square-foot innovation lab will be located on the third floor of the 4-story building. Construction is underway, with completion expected for October.