13 March 2017

FIRST® Robotics Competition will see teams battle it out to design and build working robots

Competition partners, FIRST® Australia, Macquarie University, Google and Ford are pleased to announce the launch of this year’s FIRST® Robotics Competition – a contest with innovation at its core – that will challenge some of the brightest Australian and international young minds to design robots and inspire a passion for STEM.

After an intense six weeks of preparation, students from schools all over Australia and Asia Pacific will showcase robots they have designed and built from scratch in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC®).

Director of First® Australia, Luan Heimlich, said the event is all about stimulating young minds to become the problem solvers of the future.

FIRST is all about cooperation and equipping students with skills for the future which they will hopefully carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

This week, students will gather at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, where 70 teams –  with mentors in engineering – will demonstrate their skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. They will compete for honours and recognition that reward design excellence, competitive play, sportsmanship, and high-impact partnerships between schools, businesses and communities.

Now in its 23rd season, the FIRST® Robotics Competition aims to inspire an appreciation of science and technology amongst students and their schools. This year, centred around the theme of STEAMWORKS™, students need to use their strong problem-solving credentials to design a robot with an aim to build steam pressure, install gears and climb aboard an airship.

Following reports of falling interest in STEM Australian youths, sponsors Macquarie University, Google and Ford realise the need to reignite interest in this vital area, and so have provided the time and resources to ensure the event is a success. The event also gives students the opportunity to apply for more than $50 million in scholarships and student experiences from over 200 FIRST supporters to help further interests in science and technology.

Executive Dean of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, Professor Barbara Messerle, said she is proud the university sponsors such an important event.

“In 2006, Macquarie University was instrumental in bringing FIRST to Australia and during these ten years the number of participants has grown to over 1000 students annually. We know the demand for STEM-educated graduates is projected to increase at almost twice the pace of other occupations* and this is when a pipeline of children with these skills and interest will become vital.

“As a university we have a unique opportunity to show young minds how STEM contributes to our society and the FIRST Robotics Competition allows their introduction to these disciplines to be positive, engaging and most importantly – fun.”

Engineering Director at Google, Alan Noble, said the FIRST Robotics program continues to inspire students to become creators and inventors through extending their experiences of STEM in a practical way.

“We’re excited by the innovation and creativity we see in the students from the FIRST program,” he said. “The technical skills they gain and confidence they develop in the program are equipping them for an exciting future. Who knows – we might have the next founder of a company like Google amongst these students.”

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a not-for-profit organisation that runs a suite of robotics programs for school students year round. As well as bringing to science and technology the kind of excitement and atmosphere of a sporting or entertainment event, the program also educates students in a fun way, teaching them not only the hands-on building and programming skills, but also the skills to innovate their design, to ‘market’ their work, and to engage with a network of sponsors and mentors.

*Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering


Event details

When: 13 – 18 March 2017

Where: Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, Olympic Boulevard, Sydney Olympic Park, NSW 2127

Cost: Free

More information:

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