(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is tapping an official from Pennsylvania State University to head its new semiconductor research and development program as its builds out the leadership team for a $52 billion plan to bolster US economic and national security.

Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research at Penn State, will become director of the R&D office within Chips for America of the Commerce Department, which will deploy $11 billion to set up a network of advanced computer-chip design and engineering facilities. 

At the university, where Weiss earned a Ph.D. in acoustics, she oversaw the research of 12 academic colleges, seven interdisciplinary research institutes, and an affiliated research center for the Navy. Before working at Penn State, she spent 13 years at Georgia Tech.

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Goals of the program include producing the latest semiconductor technology in the US; reducing the time from design to commercialization; and training workers from technicians to engineers. Another objective is to bring together stakeholders from across the industry, from chip designers to universities and community colleges to state and local governments to manufacturers, labor unions and investors.

Congress last year passed the US Chips and Science Act to bolster advanced semiconductor manufacturing domestically after coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and supply-chain disruption laid bare American reliance on chips from Asia and particularly Taiwan, the target of frequent threats from China.

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“While the manufacturing incentives of the Chips Act will bring semiconductor manufacturing back to the US, the chips R&D programs will ensure America’s global leadership by creating a robust semiconductor R&D ecosystem,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

Eric Lin, who had been the interim director of the research and development office, will stay on board as deputy director, the commerce department said.

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