Corporate Social Responsibility

Digital Economy Initiative

Partnering with U.S. Universities to Build Inclusive Ecosystems

The Digital Economy Initiative is not accepting new grant applications at this time.

DEI Statistics

Our increasingly digital economy is evolving at an unprecedented pace. Digitization and the Internet of Things (IoT) — connecting people and objects to transmit and receive information in order to improve processes and decision-making — are fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and solve problems.

The rapidly changing nature of jobs and the world as we know it requires a comprehensive, adaptable skills-to-jobs approach, including job creation. However, studies show American workers are falling behind. Working together, we can harness the power of digitization to minimize job displacement and create economic opportunity for all.

In collaboration with community organizations, local government and industry, public universities in the U.S. are uniquely positioned to create agile ecosystems optimized for a digital economy. Our newly launched Digital Economy Initiative (DEI) offers grant funding which U.S. public universities can apply for to spark economic growth and create jobs in order to activate, accelerate, and amplify their ability to foster locally relevant and inclusive digital economies. Universities may apply for grants in one or more of these focus areas:

Digital Economy Initiative Illustration

For additional information on grant categories click here.

Eligibility Requirements

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

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals must have a strong connection to digitization/IoT and entrepreneurship. 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

DEI Application Process

The application process is currently closed for eligible U.S. public universities. An initial information form is used to determine whether your university will be invited to complete a full application: Application Process

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.