Cisco Canada is making a big investment in the future of wireless technology.

The enterprise networking giant announced this week that it was providing $1 million over the next five years to the University of Waterloo in order to establish a new position dedicated to researching improvements in wireless technology.

As the school’s new Cisco Research Chair in 5G Systems, electrical and computer engineering professor and Canada Research Chair in the Future Internet Catherine Rosenberg will be collaborating with colleagues and Cisco researchers to both investigate 5G opportunities, and test and develop innovations for Cisco’s own wireless networking portfolio.

“I hope to work very closely with Cisco in defining problems of interest to them,” Rosenberg says in an introductory video (below). “My preliminary meetings with their engineers have been very fruitful.”

Thus far, Rosenberg has established two teams: One for networking, and another focused on 5G security and software.

“The idea is to create… a set of problems that cannot be solved by a single person, but can be solved by a multidisciplinary team,” she says.

In an April 9 statement, Waterloo president and vice-chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur praised Cisco Canada as an “industry leader” helping his school’s researchers “understand the wider impacts of this technology and how it will disrupt the way we live.”

“As the impact of wireless technology continues to expand, it’s imperative that we understand the capabilities of 5G technology and what it will mean for the world,” he said.

In a statement of her own, Cisco Canada president Rola Dagher called the position part of Cisco’s mandate “to invest in initiatives that drive innovation for Cisco and increase Canada’s competitiveness.”

“This Chair, and our long-standing relationship with the University of Waterloo, are representative of our mutual focus on disruptive technologies that have the potential to help shape Cisco’s strategy but also to bolster Canada’s stature in global technology R&D and entrepreneurship,” Dagher said.

In addition to the $1 million in funding for the research chair position, Cisco is contributing $500,000 in cash to the University of Waterloo’s Global Entrepreneurship and Disruptive Innovation (GEDI) initiative; $100,000 to its Problem Lab; and giving the school access to its Cisco Spark collaboration technology.

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