HOPKINS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill has announced a new partnership with the University of Illinois under which the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company’s digital labs team of scientists will work alongside university students at a new Cargill Innovation Lab located at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

As part of the partnership, 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 Illinois,” said Robert J. 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.”

The Innovation Lab on the university’s campus is expected to provide Cargill with a pipeline of talented software engineering and data science students and graduates ready to modernize agricultural supply chains and food systems across the globe. The lab is located within the Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is a technology hub for start-up companies and corporate research and development operations. The Research Park is home to 120 companies employing students and full-time technology professionals.

“We are on a constant search for new innovations and new talent, whose fresh thinking can help us bring new technologies to life,” said Keith Narr, vice-president of 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 will officially open later this fall, after phase one of the partnership, which includes a 12-week internship program.

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