Erica Fuchs

Erica Fuchs
Carnegie Mellon University

Assistant Professor, Engineering and Public Policy

Geography of design; international technology and operations management; and innovation and industrial policy.

S.B. (Materials Science and Engineering), 1999, Massachusetts Institute of Technology S.M. (Technology Policy), 2003, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D. (Engineering Systems), 2006, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Fuchs is interested in the geography of design, international technology and operations management, and innovation and industrial policy. She currently has two main streams of research. Her first stream of research looks at the impact of manufacturing offshore on the technology development path of the firm and the industry. Here, she has studied two cases of emerging technologies . advanced composites in automobiles and integration in optoelectronic components. In both cases, her results show that when US firms shift production from the US to countries like China, often the most advanced technologies that were developed here no longer pay. Factor costs are different abroad, and earlier technologies can be more cost-effective in countries like China. Among other issues, this leaves the most advanced technologies abandoned, and, in the case of the optoelectronics industry, creates a barrier to ever returning production to the US. Dr. Fuchs.s second stream of research studies the social processes influencing technology trajectories. Here, she is once again studying information technology, in particular, microprocessors. This work currently focuses on two main areas — the coordination of innovation among key industry architects, and the processes by which the government seeds and encourages new technology trajectories within this framework.

Dr. Fuchs has maintained an interest in technology development and international operations throughout her career. While working on her S.B. in Materials Science and Engineering at M.I.T., she interned at a steel company in northern Sweden and did her undergraduate thesis with Bayer Corporation in Germany. After graduating, she worked for the United Nations in Beijing, China, on policies to encourage innovation in state-owned industrial boiler manufacturers. After returning to M.I.T. for her S.M., she became intrigued by differences in the automotive industry’s design decisions in the U.S. versus those they made in China. A subsequent internship at a start-up in Silicon Valley led to her current investigations in the optoelectronics industry. Her has work won MIT’s “Best Technology and Policy Masters Thesis” in 2003 and “Best Doctoral Presentation” at the 2005 Annual Technology Management and Policy Doctoral Consortium. In 2005-2006 she was designated an Alfred P. Sloan fellow at the MIT Industrial Performance Center. Dr. Fuchs is fluent in German and has a strong oral command of Mandarin.

Recent Events and Presentations

February 3, 2010

At this event Carnegie Mellon Professor Erica Fuchs examines the impact of offshore manufacturing on innovation, using the photonics and automobile industries as case studies.

October 14, 2008

ITIF hosted a breakfast forum on Tuesday, October 14th with Dr. Erica Fuchs, Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Fuchs discussed the results of a new study examining the role of the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA) between 1992 and the present on innovation in the United States.