The Florida Board of Governors has given the green light to a public-private partnership between Florida Polytechnic University and Fortune 500 company International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) during its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at Florida International University.
The Board’s approval of the affiliation agreement is an important milestone in a project that could potentially bring the first high-tech industry partner straight to the Lakeland, Florida, campus.
According to the agreement, IFF will occupy laboratory and creative space in a new building on campus that will be financed, built, operated, maintained, and owned by private entities. The University would not be investing any capital in the new facility. As the occupant of the new building, IFF anticipates providing internships and job opportunities for Florida Poly students, funding and collaborating on faculty research, sponsoring senior capstone projects, and supporting academic programs.
“We thank the Board of Governors for approving this project and moving Florida Poly and IFF closer to realizing a partnership based on innovation and collaboration,” said Nicolas Mirzayantz, president, Nourish Division of IFF. “We are looking forward to expanding our taste and scent capabilities in citrus while leveraging the on-campus talent and expertise of an academic partner who is just as committed to science and research as IFF.”
IFF is a global industry leader in food, beverage, scent, health, biosciences, and sensorial experiences. It is headquartered in New York City and has creative, sales, and manufacturing facilities in 47 countries.
“This cutting-edge innovation center will be a touchstone in the heart of the North American citrus belt, yet will impact IFF innovations around the globe,” said Mauricio Poulsen, vice president of global innovation, creation and design, Nourish Division of IFF. “We are very excited about all the possibilities to come.”
Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Poly, said that having a solid research partner such as IFF on campus demonstrates the University is meeting its state charter focus of helping grow the tech industry. It also marks the beginning of his vision to have a bustling research park surrounding the University.
“Technical research universities like Florida Poly attract companies because they want access to the high-demand, low-supply graduates we produce,” Avent said. “We are proud that IFF has the vision to recognize the strategic advantage of being connected to our university.”
The next step in the negotiation between Florida Poly and IFF will be selecting a building design that meets both the needs of the company and the standards of the University. IFF anticipates moving to its new facility on campus by 2023.
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