Erica R.H. Fuchs(opens in new window), a professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy(opens in new window) in Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering(opens in new window), has been appointed to the inaugural board of trustees(opens in new window) that will oversee the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC). The core research and development component of the Department of Commerce’s CHIPS for America program, NSTC aims to strengthen U.S. leadership in semiconductor research, design, engineering and advanced manufacturing.
“Erica is a brilliant talent, and the perfect choice to help guide the direction of an organization that is pivotal to the future of manufacturing and innovation in America,” said CMU President Farnam Jahanian(opens in new window). “Carnegie Mellon University is proud to call her one of our own, and I look forward to watching Erica shape the success of the National Semiconductor Technology Center as well as CHIPS for America.”
Expected to launch this fall, the NSTC was a key component of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 that focused on promoting semiconductor manufacturing. A semiconductor is a material that controls electric currents, making it the “brains” behind most modern electronics, including smartphones, computers and televisions.
The NSTC will be a public-private consortium that provides a platform where government, industry, customers, suppliers, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, workforce representatives and investors converge to address the semiconductor research ecosystem’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.
“We are on a mission to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to America and secure our national and economic security, and to do that, we must continue to lead the world in semiconductor (research and development). The NSTC is going to supercharge chip technology and innovation ecosystems across the country so that cutting-edge developments in semiconductor design and manufacturing happen here in the U.S.,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a statement(opens in new window).
The independent selection committee, which was tasked(opens in new window) with identifying “distinguished, purpose-driven, visionary leaders” for the NSTC, announced the board on Oct. 10. In addition to Fuchs, the initial members of the incoming board are: Robin Abrams, veteran CEO of several companies including Firefly Communications; Craig R. Barrett, retired CEO and chairman of Intel Corporation; L. Reginald Brothers, principal with MIT Lincoln Laboratory and operating partner at AE Industrial; Nicholas Donofrio, retired IBM veteran; Donna L. Dubinsky, former CEO of Palm Computing and Handspring; and James D. Plummer, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, who will serve as inaugural chair of the board.
“It is an honor to serve on the NSTC board,” said Fuchs. “Semiconductor chips are the driving force behind our economy, national security and an infinite number of systems that ensure societal well-being. To maintain our national sovereignty and way of life, we must invest in the manufacturing capability necessary to lead not only in the production of today’s chips, but also to innovate, commercialize and lead in the manufacturing of the chips of the future. Executed smartly, the NSTC holds the potential to be a pivotal first step toward getting the country where it needs to be.”
Fuchs is a professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and by courtesy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering(opens in new window) and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy(opens in new window). She is a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Most recently, Fuchs led a team of university scholars to develop the National Network for Critical Technology Assessment(opens in new window), which will be releasing its report, “Securing America’s Future: A Framework for Critical Technology Assessment” on Oct. 24.