LIFT, Department of Defense Announce Phase 2 Funding for Institute Operations in Puerto Rico

LIFT will continue the advancement of technology and talent development on the island

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro works with LIFT’s virtual welding equipment alongside LIFT Chief Financial Officer Victor Claudio (February 2023)

DETROIT – LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense national manufacturing innovation institute, today announced it has received funding for a second phase from the Department of Defense, through the Office of Naval Research, to continue technology and talent development operations in Puerto Rico in support of the Island’s manufacturing base and workforce.

The award was made to LIFT in Puerto Rico during a recent visit by Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

This $1 million grant is a continuation of the LIFT Puerto Rico program launched in 2022, with $1.9 million in support from the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program, overseen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. 

“Our mission to drive American advanced manufacturing into the future through technology and talent development is a National mandate,” said Nigel Francis, CEO and Executive Director of LIFT and ALMMII.  “We are proud to be a partner with the Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research, the leadership in Puerto Rico, including Governor Pierluisi, and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) to carry out that mission in support of the Island’s manufacturers and workforce.”

“We are thrilled to support Puerto Rican manufacturers and their workforce as part of our national manufacturing innovation institute mandate,” said Victor Claudio, Chief Financial Officer, who works and resides in Puerto Rico. “There is no doubt that innovation is ‘place based,’ which means we have not only brought the support of our existing ecosystem to the island, but we will continue to develop an engaged ecosystem of local manufacturers and help advance their technologies towards commercialization.”

Since the initiative kicked off, LIFT has been convening local stakeholders, developing an ecosystem and assessing how it can meet the innovation needs of the Island’s manufacturers as well as prepare the workforce for careers in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Later this year, LIFT is expected to announce a site location for an advanced manufacturing applied R&D satellite center on the island.

Founded in Detroit and celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, LIFT is one of the original manufacturing innovation institutes, and serves as a technology accelerator, working at the intersection of materials science, manufacturing processes, systems engineering and talent development to enhance national economy and national security. This connection enables the institute, and its more than 300 organization ecosystem to advance technologies – such as hypersonic materials development and lightweight armor systems – into commercial industry and into the hands of the warfighter quickly, all while preparing the workforce for the advanced manufacturing jobs available today and better preparing it for the jobs of the future.

“The DoD institutes were created to move the needle in advanced manufacturing technology and talent across the country in support of the warfighter, and the work of LIFT truly meets that mission,” said Tracy Frost, Director, Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program. “The promise of LIFT combined with Puerto Rico’s robust manufacturing industry and military heritage will lead to success for the Island and the nation.”

Manufacturing accounts for nearly half of the gross domestic product of Puerto Rico and the Island has a long history of manufacturing and a diverse manufacturing economy, including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agroecology, aerospace, electronics, computing, engineering and construction, and apparel.