Cargill, Minneapolis, announced plans to open a new Cargill Innovation Lab at University of Illinois’ Research Park, Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

Led by Cargill’s digital labs team of data scientists, innovation lab students and staff will work directly with Cargill business leaders, operations teams and customers to help move digital ideas – in weeks, not months – to test mode.

“Cargill’s commitment to engaging our students in its innovation process will add a new dimension to their educational experiences at [the University of] Illinois,” says Robert Jones, chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I had the good fortune to visit Cargill’s headquarters and engage with their leadership in this process. I am excited that Cargill has decided to join the dynamic environment in our Research Park.”

In turn, the innovation lab provides Cargill with a pipeline of software engineering and data science students and graduates ready to modernize agricultural supply chains and food systems across the globe.

“We are on a constant search for new innovations and new talent, whose fresh thinking can help us bring new technologies to life,” says Keith Narr, vice president, Cargill’s digital labs team. “With an impressive engineering and computer science program, the University of Illinois is an ideal partner to spur the growth and innovation in our digital business.”

The Cargill innovation lab opens its doors this fall, following a first phase of the partnership, including a 12-week internship program.

“We know our students are motivated by making an impact in their communities,” says Jones. “There are few greater ways to do so than by helping Cargill fulfill its purpose of feeding the world.”