Question: If you are a big networking company in Silicon Valley and your focus is more on VoIP, collaborative tools and security, etc. how do you create new media mash-ups, combining elements of social networking, mobile or”big” games, online interactivity, affinity-based websites and short-form broadband programming?Answer: You partner with mtvU and give grants to college students to tap into their creativity and brilliance. Together, you create the Digital Incubator program.The Digital Incubator program, now in its second year, was developed jointly by mtvU and Cisco to discover talented college students to create new media and entertainment concepts. Together, we provide the monetary, creative and technical resources for students to bring their digital media ideas into reality-as well as a national platform for the finished products to be showcased. We want to encourage the next generation of talent to experiment with new forms of story telling made possible because of video and broadband coming together and mtvU reaches a college audience that is consuming media in new and exciting ways. mtvU and Cisco are happy to announce our 2007 grant awards.These five student groups will be funded with up to $30,000 in grant money each and offered a national platform to pioneer the next generation of digital applications and content. In an added twist, this year’s grant recipients will have the opportunity to submit a detailed business plan and pitch MTV and Cisco executives for a supplemental grant of up to $100,000. May I have the envelope, please? Click to watch a video of the student teams being awarded the grants.This year’s grant recipients are:Casablanca – New York University: A hybrid social networking and mobile/alternative reality game that pits players against each other as members of one of two teams. The game plays out online and via text messages; is one part espionage, one part team-builder; and rewards players for building or infiltrating real-world and virtual communities. Selectricity -M.I.T.: An online ranking technology that focuses on preferential decision-making -shifting away from a winner-take-all paradigm to a more democratic standard. Using a drag-and-drop mechanism, voters rank”candidates” in order of preference and the Selectricity application generates a winner that is most acceptable to the group as a whole.RapHappy – New York University: An online hip hop destination where users can record, collaborate on, search and listen to freestyle or written raps. The site will encourage user interaction and collaboration, enabling users to form groups, start battles or rate/comment on the sites’ submissions. How Do I Say This? -UCLA: One of the greenlighted Digital Incubator programs from last year and a 2007 SXSW Web Award-winner will return bigger than ever in its second season. “How Do I Say This?” is an interactive, web-based advice Wiki, where users help script and create video messages for people with problems that have left them at a loss for words. Osiris -Brown University: A first-of-its-kind MP3 visualizer that uses song lyrics to automatically generate music videos using images pulled from Flickr and pictures on the user’s hard drive. Congratulations to these talented teams and thanks to all the groups who submitted entries. We look forward to watching these concepts develop and we are proud to support the teams with Cisco technical and business resources.