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Cisco Sytems is investing in two new research and innovation initiatives within the University of Waterloo. The first is the Cisco Incubation Centre, part of the David Johnston Research and Technology Park at the University of Waterloo that was created to help develop young entrepreneurs and bolster development of a dynamic tech sector from the region.

The Centre, which will be linked to similar research parks around the world, will focus on providing local start-ups and students with access to Cisco's collaboration technology, expertise and worldwide partner system. "We want to inspire Canada's emerging entrepreneurs and leverage the amazing work being done in Waterloo," says Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Canada.

Read: $30-Million Startup Incubator Launches

Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, also welcomes the increase in the number of entrepreneurial companies and resulting stimulus to the region's economy. "Collaborative partnerships like ours enable us to get ideas into circulation faster, to solve problems more effectively and develop solutions to important regional, national and global challenges. This new partnership will result in significant economic activity through the creation of new enterprises and start-ups that will involve our graduates and their innovative ideas," he says.

Read: Accelerate Your Success Through a Startup Incubator

Cisco is also providing $1 million over the next five years to establish a research chair for smart grid technology—computerized electrical grids that use information and communications technology to make systems more efficient, reliable and sustainable.

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The chair's role will be to promote, support and lead research, development and innovation for smart power grids. "Waterloo is committed to excellence in research in the fields of engineering, environment, science and technology," says Hamdullahpur. He adds that the collaboration with Cisco will help students find answers for current energy challenges and develop solutions for the future.

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