On October 25, IFF and Florida Polytechnic University laid the foundation for the new Citrus Innovation Center, located on the University’s campus in Lakeland, Florida. The nearly 30,000 square-foot, standalone building will support global citrus research and development, and will include sensory and experience venues, research labs, processing, analytical departments, a fully equipped citrus garden and amenities for hosting customers and partners.
“What an honor to celebrate this beacon for innovation and excellence, that is a perfect blend of science and creativity,” said Nicolas Mirzayantz, president, Nourish Division, IFF. “As we lay the foundation for a global citrus innovation center, we re-affirm IFF’s commitment to invest in R&D capabilities that unlock the development of innovative solutions for our customers, partners and communities we operate in. This facility represents a significant milestone in our cross-divisional citrus strategy. Here, we will accelerate innovation by combining the expertise from our Nourish and Scent divisions with on-campus talent who are just as committed to pushing the boundaries of science and uplifting the citrus industry as a whole.”
Nestled on the university’s campus in the heart of the citrus belt, the new, best-in-class center for excellence is designed, engineered and constructed by Ryan Companies, who upon completion, will maintain the building. The sprawling, glass-fronted building and surrounding grounds are slated for completion in late 2023.
“IFF holds a leading position in R&D investment,” said Christophe de Villeplée, president, scent division, IFF. “This cutting-edge facility represents one more way we’re combining creativity and science, working closely with our partners and customers. Citrus extracts are an essential component of our creations, bringing consumers delightful freshness. By building a transformational, holistic citrus development ecosystem in one of the world’s central citrus locations, we will further deepen our knowledge, and facilitate the creation of differentiated citrus products that delight global food, beverage, and fragrance customers, while doing more good for people and planet.”
IFF will be the first company located on Florida Poly’s campus. The company anticipates providing hands-on internships and job opportunities for Florida Poly students in areas of research and development, customer experience, supply and operational coordination, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, IFF will support the University through funding and collaborating on faculty research, sponsoring senior capstone projects, and supporting academic programs.
“We are proud that IFF recognized the strategic advantage in partnering with our University,” said Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Poly. “Our students and faculty are making real contributions in growing the tech industry by influencing the designs of pioneering technologies and real-world solutions. We’re excited about the cross-disciplinary learning opportunities for our students through this partnership in fields such as metabolomics, automation, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and biometric data capture and analysis, to name a few.”
The building capitalizes on views toward the campus, overlooking the expansive ponds and the campus front entry. Its architectural design draws inspiration from the building’s purpose: the exterior reflects the density and discernment of aromas, scents and taste sensations, showcasing acute moments of knowledge, research and gathering, and the flow of those experiences between spaces.
“The ethereal nature of the design concept was challenging, however Ryan was able to successfully create a dynamic, unique architectural expression that reflects the nature of the work being done within the facility, while complementing the existing architecture on the campus,” said Linaea Floden, regional director of architecture for Ryan A+E.