Eric Burger has been named a 2023 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Burger, the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) research director, is joining an elite group of NAI fellows from Virginia Tech, including Virginia Tech President Tim Sands and Robin McCarleyFralin Life Sciences Institute’s executive director and who’s also a 2023 NAI fellow.

“Over the past 40 years, Dr. Burger’s contributions to the advancement of communications networks have been significant and far-reaching,” Sands said. “The technologies and techniques he developed have made our networks more expansive and secure. His important work helped lead the transition of wireless networks from the U.S. government to the private sector, opening markets and opportunities. I’m honored to welcome Dr. Burger to the National Academy of Inventors as a fellow.”

Patented future

The former chief technology officer of the Federal Communications Commission, Burger is the inventor of 22 U.S. patents, including 17 licensed to companies in telecommunications, mobile advertising, health care telecommunications, and cybersecurity. 

“Dr. Burger’s inventions have helped build the foundation of the modern interactive communications industry that we know today,” said Dan Sui, Virginia Tech senior vice president for research and innovation. “His patents include foundational technology that connected the legacy telephone network to an internet protocol network. He championed the technology within the telecommunications industry when many were doubtful it would work. His foresight changed the way we talk to friends, family, and colleagues on a daily basis.”

Looking ahead in cybersecurity

Burger brings his wealth of expertise to CCI, an unprecedented consortium of 40-plus Virginia universities and colleges with more than 375 researchers focused on cybersecurity issues. Virginia Tech plays a leadership role at CCI, which is funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The CCI xG Testbed, based at Virginia Tech, has deployed the first end-to-end Open Radio Access Networks (O-RAN) ecosystem. 

He is also technical director of the NextG Alliance, an initiative dedicated to advancing North American wireless technology leadership and has a strong emphasis on technology commercialization. 

“Eric is a great example of how CCI can attract top-notch researchers and policy experts to Virginia,” said Luiz DaSilva, CCI executive director. “Here, he contributes his expertise as a technology leader, entrepreneur, and inventor to building the next generation of secure networks. I am delighted the National Academy of Inventors has recognized him with their highest professional honor.” 

With a primary appointment as a CCI Research Professor, Burger has courtesy research professor appointments in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Center for Public Administration and Policy. Burger is also an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Computer Science, Wireless@VT, and the Virginia Tech National Security Institute.

More about the NAI 2023 class 

According to the NAI, the 2023 fellow class hails from 118 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutions worldwide. This class includes 89 individuals from the Association of American Universities institutions and 128 individuals from R1 universities, which have very high research activity. Collectively, the 2023 fellows hold more than 4,600 issued U.S. patents.

Burger received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MBA from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, and a Ph.D. in computer science from Illinois Tech.


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