Corporate Social Responsibility

Digital Economy Initiative

Cisco welcomes applications for grants from US public universities to prepare students and communities for today's increasingly digital economy. Grants are available to fund projects and programs that catalyze, accelerate, and sustain an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our goal is to cultivate digital innovators and entrepreneurs -- global problem solvers -- in order to drive economic growth and inclusive prosperity.

Learn more: Digital Economy Initiative brochure [PDF]

Funding Opportunities

There are five different grant opportunities within the Digital Economy Initiative for which U.S. public universities may apply.

Research Grants to:

  • Understand skill and job market trends
  • Identify replicable practices that encourage undeserved people, including those who need reskilling and upskilling, to engage with technology
  • Identify and evaluate impact of programs and initiatives meant to accelerate innovation and inclusive prosperity

Curriculum and Lab Grants to:

  • Support development of locally relevant, digital curriculum and labs for university students
  • Support development of locally relevant, digital curriculum and labs for community colleges to reskill and upskill people
  • Partner with industry for co-creation opportunities

Innovation Capacity Grants to:

  • Create locally relevant programs and initiatives that incorporate technology and cultivate leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Create locally relevant programs and initiatives that support upskilling and reskilling

Digitization Challenge Grants to:

  • Co-create industry-specific, locally relevant challenges
  • Provide platform or sponsor category in existing challenge, and access to digitization curriculum
  • Provide university with funds for project management, marketing and awards

Digital Foundation Grants to:

  • Fund early stage innovation to enable new digitized services, tools and support models to address critical human needs, economic empowerment and education


Eligibility Requirements

Cisco awards Digital Economy Initiative grants to U.S. public universities.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals are evaluated based on quality, alignment and relevance to the goals of the Digital Economy Initiative and the university's experience and capacity to execute.

Application Process

The application process is now open for eligible organizations. An initial information form is used to determine whether or not your organization will be invited to complete a full application.

Digital Economy Initiative grants may be funded through a corporate advised fund that Cisco has established with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). When funded by SVCF, all related grant agreements are between SVCF and the recipients.