FIRST Logo FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Inventor Dean Kamen and Professor Woodie Flowers. FIRST, a 501(c)(3) public charity, has its headquarters located in Manchester, NH. FIRST hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, Junior FIRST LEGO League, and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions.


Dean Kamen

To create a world where science and technology are celebrated… where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.

– Dean Kamen, Founder

Dean Kamen’s far reaching vision defines both the FIRST competitions and our team. Rather than focusing on competitions between teams, FIRST focuses on celebrating our innovation and ingenuity. FIRST does not focus on winning a championship; instead, it focuses on building a culture where the engineer is as famous as the sports star. FIRST is the celebration of our Einsteins and our Edisons. FIRST is about recognizing our Newtons and Hawkings.


Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.

In the end, FIRST‘s mission isn’t founded on which robot beating which robot, or which team being better than which team. FIRST is about building a community of inspired students and mentors alike that strive to work together to build our future. FIRST is founded on the principle that motivated young people can and will change our world for the better. When young people are equipped with the proper skills and knowledge, FIRST can change the world.

FIRST Robotics Competition

The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an international high school robotics competition hosted annually by FIRST. In 2010, 1,808 teams, amounting up to approximately 45,000 students, competed in FRC. On average, each FRC team has around 25 students. A team includes both high school students and mentors, who can be college students, teachers, corporate employees, or parents.

Students working together to build the chassis of the robot.

Students working together to build the chassis of the robot.

Build Season

At the beginning of each build season, each competing FRC team is given the description of the year’s game and a standard set of parts, known as the Kit of Parts, to build their robot. Teams are given six weeks to build a robot for the upcoming FRC regional competitions. Extra parts, purchased separately or fabricated, can be added to a robot, with each individual part not exceeding $400 and overall not exceeding $3,500.

2010 Microsoft Seattle Regional at Key Arena

2011 Seattle Olympic Regional at Qwest Field Event Center


All of the work done on the robot prepares for the actual competition. Regional competitions are three days long. The first day is set aside for practice matches and setting up the robot on the actual fields. Qualification matches are held on the second day, where teams compete in a ranked competition. The final day concludes with the elimination rounds and the awards ceremony. Teams who are part of the winning alliance or win the Chairman’s Award advance to Championships, which are held annually in St. Louis, Missouri.


Students competing in FRC are able to learn from professional engineers, learn and use sophisticated software and hardware, earn a place in the World Championship, and qualify for over $14 million in college scholarships. Learn more about why students choose FIRST.