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WISPER (Wireless Innovation towards Secure, Pervasive, Efficient and Resilient NextG Networks) is a new collaboration supported by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative. WISPER is funded by an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) Planning Grant to develop an NSF research center that will pioneer transformative NextG wireless.

Mission Objectives

WISPER will unite academic and industry experts in wireless, artificial intelligence, cyber security, cyber-physical systems, industrial automation, and medical technologies to conduct breakthrough pre-competitive research that will:

  • Grow U.S. innovation capacity in the NextG wireless
  • Drive North American leadership in the NextG wireless
  • Deliver societal and economic impact
  • Guide and inform standardization bodies and industry initiatives
  • Train the next generation of highly skilled, diverse workers to implement Next G wireless

Research Areas

Deep integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into NextG networks.

Open software and secure NextG architectures and platforms.

New spectrum bands and spectrum access strategies for NextG wireless.

Non-terrestrial networking, joint communication and sensing, reconfigurable surfaces, and quantum networking.

Security of NextG use cases involving industrial and cyber-physical systems, and network slicing. Wireless privacy solutions for NextG based on post-quantum cryptography and blockchain technologies.

Industry-guided project-based experiential learning training and workforce development programs in secure and autonomous NextG.

Become an Industry Member

Join WISPER's team of corporate, federal, and academic members to advance this vision, shape our research activities and focus, and accelerate technology translation to influence the social and economic impact of NextG wireless. 

Our Planning Grant application received support from 52 companies and organizations, and an endorsement from the ATIS Next G Alliance

As a member, you’ll benefit from:

  • Early engagement in pre-competitive research
  • Excellent leverage on research dollars invested
  • Access to early research results, IP, and facilities
  • Research cost avoidance
  • Opportunities to build networks and communities. 
  • Access to talent
  • An active vote on the Industry Advisory Board
  • NSF’s governance and legal framework

Center Planning Workshop

CCI hosted a WISPER Center planning workshop on November 7-8, 2022, at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Virginia. Activities for prospective industry members, NSF, and academic researchers included:

  • Discussions of the center's research roadmap and unmet industry needs.
  • Insights on the center's operations.
  • Interactions with students.
  • Networking opportunities. 

Building on a CCI Foundation 

 This unique collaboration is made possible by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative's cross-university partnership. WISPER will leverage the foundation of CCI’s:

CCI faculty researcher Feras Batarseh shows the CCI testbed to students attending Cyber Camp. Photo by Ron Aira

CCI researcher shows students aspects of the testbed

A member of the CCI research team helps install the NextG testbed at the CCI headquarters in Arlington

A research student works on CCI's testbed

Students from Virginia colleges and universities attend CCI Cyber Camp

Students from Virginia colleges and universities attend CCI Cyber Camp

About IUCRC and Its Goals

IUCRC accelerates the impact of basic research through relationships between industry innovators, world-class academic teams, and government leaders. National Science Foundation Centers are created to help industry and government partners connect with academic researchers to:

  • Conduct high-impact research that addresses shared industrial needs.
  • Enhance U.S. global leadership in driving innovative technology development.
  • Identify, mentor, and develop a diverse, exceptionally skilled workforce.

The IUCRC program provides a structure for academic researchers to conduct fundamental, pre-competitive research of shared interest to industry and government organizations. These organizations pay membership fees to a consortium to collectively shape and fund research, with at least 90 percent of member funds allocated to the direct costs of research projects.

Find out more about the IUCRC program.