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Cisco Outlines R&D Plans With Skolkovo Foundation

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Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO: Quote) said Thursday that it has signed a strategy document outlining its research and development plans with the Skolkovo Foundation. The focus of the networking gear maker's R&D strategy is on creation of new jobs in Russia. The move marks an important milestone in the company's multi-year, $1 billion investment in sustainable innovation within the Russian Federation. Under the plan, Cisco will create a physical R&D presence in the Skolkovo Technopolis. The Skolkovo Project is an initiative supported by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to create a technology and innovation hub on the outskirts of Moscow.

The project has the backing of the Russian government to help accelerate the transformation of Russia from a resource-intensive to an innovation-based economy through strategic partnerships with leading scientists and corporations. Cisco noted that it recently received formal Skolkovo participant status, which enables the company to begin engineering activities and formally establish a physical presence. Cisco signed the initial memorandum of understanding with Skolkovo in June 2010 that contemplates five concurrent collaborative phases over the next decade.

The company noted that the first phase consists of engaging with the VC community and talent development, while the second phase establishes a physical presence in Russia.

The third phase will extend a dedicated Cisco R&D capability within Russia, while the fourth phase will focus on go-to-market models. The fifth phase will build a partnering model with local companies.

Cisco said it is increasing its talent development plans with a new goal to triple the number of Cisco Networking Academies in Russia to 650 by mid 2014, from the current 217. The program will aim to train 16,000 students in networking and IT skills every year.

As part of its hiring plans for Russia, Cisco said Thursday that the Cisco Sales Associates Program or CSAP is currently recruiting top graduates in Russia. The development programs are designed specifically for top university graduates who aspire to become the next generation of leaders at Cisco.

Cisco also said it is helping to establish six Entrepreneurship Institutes operating in Russia to support the Go-To Market phase.

As part of its commitment to build a partnering model with local Russian companies outlined in phase 5, Cisco said it is extending its collaborative approach with the Russian technology industry through local manufacturing initiatives that have already created over 100 high-tech jobs.

In the city of Tver, Cisco is collaborating with a contract-manufacturing consortium including local sourcing of major components to produce IP set-top boxes for the cable TV market.

Cisco on Thursday announced the latest manufacturing launch and availability of the popular 2911 series Integrated Services Router with local hardware assembly of its K9 bundle. As part of its phase five commitment, Cisco is expanding its collaborative relationship with the Russian venture capital community.

In Thursday's session, CSCO is trading at $20.99, down $0.09 or 0.43 percent on a volume of 15.87 million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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