LIFT, Department of Defense Sign New $49 Million Agreement, To Continue Advanced Manufacturing Technology & Talent Development

New Cooperative Agreement maintains LIFT as a public-private partnership and manufacturing innovation institute for the next five years.

DETROIT – LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense manufacturing innovation institute, today announced it has signed a new Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program to continue to operate the public-private partnership and national manufacturing innovation institute (MII) for the next five years. ManTech is overseen by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the contract will be managed through the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The new agreement’s total value is $49.4 million, including industry cost-share, funded annually through 2028.

LIFT, a nonprofit public-private partnership whose mission is to Drive American Advanced Manufacturing into the Future Through Technology and Talent Development and operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), signed its original cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense when it was established in February 2014.

The institute moved into its Detroit headquarters in 2015, opened its state-of-the-art high bay in 2017 and the LIFT Learning Lab in 2019. The institute then opened a satellite location in Sterling Heights, Michigan in 2021 to support its partnership with the U.S. Army and announced at the end of 2022 that it plans to open another satellite facility in Puerto Rico this year.

The new agreement enables LIFT to continue its work as a Department of Defense Manufacturing Innovation Institute and participate in the Manufacturing USA network, focused on “materials and manufacturing technologies to advance the systems engineering approach needed for the design, build, test, and manufacture of components.” It also requires that LIFT continue its focus on advanced materials, manufacturing process, systems engineering and the integration of materials characterization, captured through computational tools, such as Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) across different materials applications to benefit the DoD and the national industrial manufacturing base.

“Our continued partnership with the Department of Defense solidifies LIFT as a national asset and the national hub for the design, development, verification and validation of advanced materials and manufacturing processes,” said Nigel Francis, CEO and Executive Director, LIFT. “The challenges we are addressing from manufacturing technology and talent perspectives can only truly be addressed through public-private partnerships like we operate here at LIFT and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together over the next five years.”

“LIFT has continued to show the value it promised the Department of Defense in 2014 when we committed to establishing the institute in Detroit,” said Tracy Frost, Director of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology Program. “Our partnership with LIFT adds value to our MII network to accelerate technologies, build advanced manufacturing ecosystems and educate and train the needed workforce, fulfilling our mission to get critical technologies to the Warfighter at speed and scale.”

“Michigan workers and manufacturers are the best in the world, so it is only fitting that one of the world’s premiere innovation institutes is in our state. This continued partnership with the Department of Defense will allow Michigan to continue to lead the way in manufacturing and innovation,” said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.

“Michigan’s growing defense footprint bolsters our state’s economy and strengthens our national defense,” said U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “LIFT is a key asset right here in Detroit that is leading the way in advanced manufacturing, and I’m pleased their partnership with the Department of Defense will continue.”

“It is tremendous to see a growing economic asset like LIFT right here in the heart of Corktown in Detroit,” said U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar. “The work they are doing to bring technology and talent to the area is critical to the residents here and carries on our long tradition of creating jobs through manufacturing innovation.”

“I have seen firsthand the work that LIFT is doing to move manufacturing forward here in the epicenter of our national industrial base and it is incredible,” said U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens. “I applaud both LIFT and the Department of Defense for continuing this partnership and I cannot wait to see what is next.”

Among the other activities LIFT will continue to conduct under the new agreement are to work with industry, government and academia as a:

  • Trusted Advisor: With experts in-house and an ecosystem across industries, LIFT serves as the trusted advisor for small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them transition toward a smarter manufacturing future.
  • Technology Accelerator: LIFT helps organizations move emerging technologies from advanced concepts to commercialization so they can be adopted by industry and the warfighter faster.
  • Technology Showcase and Sandbox: Bringing the “art of the possible” to reality, the LIFT Technology Showcase in Detroit is where manufacturers see the benefits of connecting materials, processes, systems and talent.
  • Connector: As a public-private-partnership between government, industry and academia, LIFT connects needs, ideas and people, to the organizations that can move the needle.
  • Convener: With a national network of the Department of Defense, government, academia and industry, LIFT convenes experts in smarter manufacturing.
  • Talent Developer: Developing new venues, tools and teaching techniques, LIFT’s competency-based, technology-infused talent development program is redefining manufacturing education, including for high school and college students, as well as incumbent workers and veterans.
  • Government Partner: LIFT’s partnerships across the federal government eliminate barriers of entry for your organization and ensure rapid and efficient contracting combined with expert program management.

To learn more about LIFT, its ecosystem, and its capabilities, visit


LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the Detroit-based, public-private partnership between the Department of Defense, industry, and academia, committed to the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and implementing talent development initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on LinkedIn at LIFT or on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.