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Thursday, March 10, 2011

$ 200 Million for 900.000 First Robotics Students

The future and success of robotics in the next decade is already founded in the brains and hearts of nearly 1 million young students, who have attended robotics programs and competitions in the last ten years all over the world. One of the most successful robotics events in the world is the FIRST Robotics Competition, an international high school robotics competition organized by FIRST not-for-profit public charity founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, an American entrepreneur and inventor from New Hampshire, best known for inventing the
Segway. Each year, teams of high school students compete to build robots weighing up to 120 pounds that can complete a task, which changes every year.
Next Generation Roboticists  
In 1992, the FIRST Robotics Competition began with 28 teams and a single 14-by-14-foot playing field in a New Hampshire high school gym. In 2010 more than 45,000 high-school students on over 1,800 teams from the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Herzegovina, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the U.K. participated in the 2010 competition. Since the start more than 900.000 students have attended the First Robotics Competitions.
$ 200 Million in Robotics Education
The annual revenue has grown from $ 10 million in 2002 to $ 34 million in 2009. About 50% of revenue comes from program registration fees and 50% from sponsors including NASA and Google. In the last ten years more than $ 200 million have been invested into robotics education, training and competitions for more than 900.000 students. According to FIRST annual reports 90% of funds spent were for team services and program growth; general and administrative expenses comprised 8% and fundraising costs were only 2%, reflecting a policy of applying the maximum amount of funds possible to directly benefit teams.

According to an independent evaluation study of the 2008 FLL Program September 2009 conducted by Center for Youth and Communities, Brandeis University the impact of the FIRST Robotics Competition on participants is significant. When compared with a group of non FIRST students FIRST students are:

  • More than 3 times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
  • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
  • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.
  • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
  • Nearly 4 times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
  • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
2011 marks the 20th season of the FIRST Robotics Competition. Check out the Kick Off video below. 

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