LIFT Announces New Phase of ‘Fast Forward’ Project Opportunities

DETROIT – LIFT—Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a national manufacturing innovation institute operated by the American Lightweight Materials Innovation Institute (ALMMII), has announced a new phase of its “Fast Forge” program, providing opportunities for companies to submit project ideas for funding.

Launching Monday, April 1, the “Fast Forge” program at LIFT is designed to solicit exciting new lightweight materials project ideas and put teams together to rapidly develop those new technologies more rapidly than the institute’s larger programs.

There are two opportunities of engagement with the new phase of “Fast Forge”:
• Innovator: This level is designed specifically for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to submit and lead a project, with academic support, to advance their technology.
• Accelerator: This level is designed for larger companies and organizations to lead a project, with academics and SME partners, to move its technology forward.

“So far as an institute, we have seen some tremendous successes in our initial program portfolio, but those were multi-year and multi-million dollar programs,” said Hadrian Rori, chief technology officer, LIFT. “The goal of the new phase of ‘Fast Forge’ is to take the ideas already being generated in the industry, particularly from small and medium-sized manufacturers, and help develop them so they can be commercialized rapidly.”

“We are very pleased to continue enabling technology innovation via these rapid action activities which will not only advance our partners’ goals, but also position LIFT as the national go-to place for smart manufacturing materials, process and systems innovation and development,” said Nigel Francis, chief executive officer and executive director, LIFT.

Project ideas can be submitted by completing the proposal form here beginning April 1 through June 1, 2019. The submissions will be evaluated by LIFT leadership and engineers based on:
• Technological Merit
• Technology MRL level
• Program Timing
• Funding Requirement or Total Project Value/Cost Share
• LIFT Member Engagement
• Planned use of the LIFT High-Bay Equipment.

Each project in the Innovator and Accelerator categories are required to have a maximum $250,000 budget, one-to-one cost-share of funding, and be completed in a six-month timeframe. Non-LIFT members are eligible to submit project ideas, but companies must be (or become) a LIFT member to receive funding for a “Fast Forge” project.