Erica R.H. Fuchs is a Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and by courtesy in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. She is also a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Dr. Fuchs’ research focuses on the development, commercialization and global manufacturing of emerging technologies, and national policy in that context.
Today, Dr. Fuchs is passionate about building nationally the intellectual foundations, data, and analytic tools to inform National Technology Strategy across government missions. Toward realizing this vision, Dr. Fuchs is currently Director of the one-year $4M pilot National Network for Critical Technology Assessment funded by NSF’s Technology, Innovation and Partnerships Office, and involving academic thought-leaders from more than 13 Tier I research universities across the country; and founding Director of Carnegie Mellon’s Critical Technology Strategy Initiative – an initiative spanning Carnegie Mellon’s schools of engineering, computer science, and the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. She first learnt that she loved bringing faculty together in ways that the total is greater than the sum of the parts as founding Faculty Director of Carnegie Mellon University’s Manufacturing Futures Initiative – an initiative across six schools aimed to revolutionize the commercialization and local production of advanced manufactured products, which today is an endowed institute.
Over the past two decades, Dr. Fuchs has played a growing role in national and international meetings on technology policy, including co-chairing the National Academies Committee on U.S. Science and Innovation Leadership in the 21st Century, serving on the expert group that supported the White House in the 2016 Innovation Dialogue between the U.S. and China, and being one of 23 participants in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology workshop that led to the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Dr. Fuchs currently serves on the M.I.T. Corporation’s Visiting Committee for M.I.T.’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, of which M.I.T.’s Technology Policy Program is a part; and on the Advisory Editorial Board for Research Policy. Before coming to CMU, Dr. Fuchs completed her Ph.D. in Engineering Systems at M.I.T. in June 2006.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Media Appearances (5)
Policy memo: How the EU and US should overcome their trade and supply-chain disputes
Atlantic Council online
Beyond this, important questions remain as to whether sensitive emerging technologies—such as applied artificial intelligence, bio-machine interfaces, or quantum computing—should be included in the mapping and information-sharing process, and also whether the United States and the EU have the analytical capacities needed for proper technological foresight, as highlighted by the Brookings Institution’s Erica R.H. Fuchs.
Building the analytic capacity to support critical technology strategy
The Brookings Institution online
In a Hamilton Project proposal, author Erica R.H. Fuchs of Carnegie Mellon University and the National Bureau of Economic Research proposes the creation of a national capability for cross-mission critical technology analytics to build the intellectual foundations, data, and analytics needed to inform national technology strategy.
Team Builds Tools, Innovations to Support Federal Investment
Carnegie Mellon University News online
Carnegie Mellon University hosted Ambassador Katherine Tai, United States trade representative, in a roundtable discussion on the data and analytic tools necessary to support U.S. innovation and trade strategies in critical technologies, such as vaccines, batteries and semiconductors. During her visit, the ambassador observed research demonstrations by faculty and students working in several critical technology clusters on a tour guided by Bill Sanders, dean of CMU's College of Engineering, and Erica Fuchs, a professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP).
Please, no Moore: 'Law' that defined how chips have been made for decades has run itself into a cul-de-sac
The Register online
Since then, according to Professor Erica Fuchs of Carnegie Mellon University, "half of economic growth in the US and worldwide has also been attributed to this trend and the innovations it enabled throughout the economy.” Virtually all of industry, science, medicine, and every aspect of daily life now depends on computers that are ever faster, cheaper, and more widely spread.
Blue-collar jobs will survive the rise of artificial intelligence. But the work will change
Los Angeles Times online
Cutting-edge manufacturing not only involves the extreme precision of a Rolls Royce turbofan disc. It’s also moving toward mass customization and what Erica Fuchs calls “parts consolidation” — making more-complex blocks of components so a car, for example, has far fewer parts. This new frontier often involves experimentation, with engineers learning through frequent contact with production staff, requiring workers to make new kinds of contributions.
Industry Expertise (4)
Writing and Editing
Philip L. Dowd Fellowship Award (professional)
Distinguished Alumnus (professional)
2017 Reading High School Alumni Association
Carnegie Institute of Technology Dean’s Early Career Fellow (professional)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: S.M., Technology Policy 2003
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Engineering Systems 2006
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: S.B., Materials Science and Engineering 1999
- Research Policy : Advisory Editorial Board
Research Grants (3)
A National Network for Critical Technology Assessment: A Pilot
National Science Foundation, Technology Innovation and Partnerships Directorate $3,998,952
September 15, 2022-Septembr 14, 2023
Launching a Critical Technology Analytics Collective: Roadmapping technical pathways to supply resilience in safety-critical robust semiconductors
Lockheed Martin Corporation $50,000
Building a National Capacity for Cross-Mission Critical Technology Analytics: Timely situational awareness of U.S. and global technology capabilities
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation $48,745
Proposal for a Center-Planning Workshop
National core competencies and dynamic capabilities in times of crisis: Adaptive regulation of new entrants in advanced technology marketsResearch Policy
2023 The extent to which domestic industrial capabilities are essential in contributing to a Nations' prosperity and national well-being is the topic of long-standing debate. On the one hand, globalization and the outsourcing of production can lead to greater productivity, lower product costs, and gains from trade. On the other hand, national capabilities have long been a source of competitiveness and security during times of war and other crises.
Not all technological change is equal: how the separability of tasks mediates the effect of technology change on skill demandIndustrial and Corporate Change
2021 We measure the labor-demand effects of two simultaneous forms of technological change—automation of production processes and consolidation of parts. We collect detailed shop-floor data from four semiconductor firms with different levels of automation and consolidation. Using the O*NET survey instrument, we collect novel task data for operator laborers that contains process-step level skill requirements, including operations and control, near vision, and dexterity requirements.
Individual inconsistency and aggregate rationality: Overcoming inconsistencies in expert judgment at the technical frontierTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
2020 Commercialization of a new material or process invention can take decades. A predominance of tacit knowledge, information asymmetries, and insufficient human capital with knowledge in the field can contribute to this delay. Focusing on an emerging technology which offers an extreme example of such issues, we seek to capture what expert decision-making looks like at the technological frontier and opportunities for interventions to accelerate the commercialization of technologies with these issues.
Technology Forgiveness: Why emerging technologies differ in their resilience to institutional instabilityTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
2021 Long-term public support may encourage the diffusion of emerging technologies by coordinating the generation of knowledge and providing patient funding, but unexpected policy changes may hinder private investment and even lead to situations of technology lockout. Leveraging archival data; insights from 45 interviews across academia, industry, and government; and 75 hours of participant observations, we develop insights about why institutional instability in Portugal affected the adoption of Polymer Additive Manufacturing (PAM) and Metal Additive Manufacturing (MAM) differently.
Technology cost drivers for a potential transition to decentralized manufacturingAdditive Manufacturing
2019 Popular dialogue around additive manufacturing (AM) often assumes that AM will cause a move from centralized to distributed manufacturing. However, distributed configurations can face additional hurdles to achieve economies of scale. We combine a Process-Based Cost Model and an optimization model to analyze the optimal location and number of manufacturing sites, and the tradeoffs between production, transportation and inventory costs.