Partnering with University of Illinois to launch Food & Agriculture Student Immersion Program

Helping university students dive into Chicago food scene to help solve the grand challenges of sustainability and nourishment

We are thrilled to be partnering with The Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences College (ACES) to launch their inaugural Food and Agriculture Student Immersion Program.

The new endeavor features an immersive hands-on project designed to help solve the grand challenges of sustainability and nourishment.

As a purpose-driven company, specialized in developing delicious, healthy, and sustainable food ingredients, we believe we have an important role to play using our unique position as product development partner and collaborator to deliver healthy and affordable food.

“The multidisciplinary program bridges the gap between academia and industry by giving students real-world, hands-on experiences to solve complex challenges with an industry partner,” said ACES Dean Kim Kidwell. “It simultaneously opens the door for industry to have a first look at academia’s cutting-edge research.”

ACES juniors and seniors will work together to develop a food product concept with a selected group of talent from our Griffith Foods’ commercial team. Students will consider all angles, including the use of natural resources, upcycled ingredients, nutrition, and economic and social welfare.

Capitalizing on data-supported decision making, ACES students will see and experience how important food and agriculture expertise is to the region’s tech industry. 

“As a purpose-driven organization, we are thrilled to embark upon this partnership and support the professional development of top-notch ACES and University of Illinois system students and graduates” says Amy Jones, Vice President Research & Development for Griffith Foods North America. “What a great way to identify exceptional talent while delivering on our purpose to blend care and creativity to nourish the world by creating food products that are delicious, more nutritious and sustainable.”

In addition to their internship and group project, students will learn even more about sustainability and nourishment through coursework featuring industry experts. The students will also gain exposure to advanced computing and large data sets for use in decision making.

Megan Dailey, director of ACES’ new ACES Metropolitan Food and Environmental Systems, adds, “This program came together in all the right ways. Griffith Foods is an amazing first partner because they share our values of sustainability and nourishment throughout the food supply chain and the food system.”

To learn more and apply to the semester-long experience, contact Extension Educator Amy DeLorenzo at or express interest online. The application deadline is March 30. Illinois Extension plays a key role in bringing ACES research and other work directly to people and communities in meaningful ways.

To learn more about DPI partnership opportunities that combine the greatest strengths of academia and industry, contact Eric Lugo at

About DPI

The Discovery Partners Institute entices people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, it does two things: tech talent development and applied R&D. DPI prepares students and workers to step into high-demand tech jobs. It also builds research teams and matches them with new funding. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop and leverage the most ambitious people and companies the region has to offer — and keep them here.

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