The University of South Florida and Jabil Inc. have officially made a first-of-its kind partnership centered around research, innovation and talent development a reality with the opening of a new institute in the USF Research Park. USF President Steven Currall and Jabil Senior Director Ramesh Saligamé ushered in the new partnership in a ceremony attended by more than 100 university faculty, students, staff and Jabil employees.
The $1 million partnership will catalyze new collaborative efforts in innovative research, community engagement and talent development with the College of Engineering and Muma College of Business. It is expected to bolster the university’s student success efforts by providing new experiential learning opportunities and skills needed to remain competitive in the job market. The partnership was announced in late 2019 and is the brainchild of Jabil CEO Mark Mondello, a USF alum, and now-retired USF Senior Vice President and CEO of the University of South Florida Foundation Joel Momberg.
Jabil is leasing space at the USF Research Park, where students and faculty will collaborate with Jabil teams, gaining real-life experience developing solutions to critical business and technology issues. Jabil also will be participating in USF innovation initiatives and leading programs for client companies at the incubator. One of the Tampa Bay Region's largest companies, Jabil (NYSE: JBL) is a product solutions company that provides comprehensive design, manufacturing, supply chain and product management services. Jabil operates from more than 100 facilities in 29 countries, where it delivers innovative, integrated and tailored solutions to customers across a broad range of industries.
"With the opening of this physical space, we are taking the next step in realizing our shared vision for an enhanced relationship between USF and Jabil," President Currall said. "And we are leveraging our strengths at the right time and in the right place. Our region is continuing to build momentum as a creative, high-tech destination for the next-generation workforce, and this partnership will add to that momentum."
Saligamé said the principles in which this partnership should operate are expediency, transparency and peer-to-peer collaboration. The new partnership is deliberately designed without specific projects and targets so that USF faculty and Jabil innovators will be open to creative thinking that will push innovators out of their comfort zones and new projects can grow organically.
“ This is a little different for both of us," Saligamé said. "It will require both of us to get a little uncomfortable."
Immediately after the ribbon-cutting, Jabil's Vice President of Technology April Butterfield and Vice President of Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Dan Gamota met with USF faculty to discuss the company's approach to innovation and providing value to its customers. Later in the day, USF researchers had an opportunity to meet with their Jabil counterparts and begin identifying projects ripe for collaboration.