What is FIRST?

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
FIRST is More Than Robots. FIRST participation is proven to encourage students to pursue education and careers in STEM-related fields, inspire them to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their 21 st century work-life skills.


FIRST's Mission

The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, 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.


FIRST's Vision

"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders." Dean Kamen, Founder of FIRST


FIRST Philosophies

Gracious Professionalism®:Gracious Professionalism is part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended. In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.

Coopertition®:Coopertition®produces innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition is founded on the concept and a philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. Coopertition involves learning from teammates. It is teaching teammates. It is learning from Mentors. And it is managing and being managed. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can.


FIRST Core Values

We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:
  1. Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  2. Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  3. Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  4. Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  5. Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  6. Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!


What is F(FIRST)R(Robotics)C(Competition)?

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it “the hardest fun you’ll ever have.” Under strict rules, limited time and resources, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.

The Event Experience

Hard work pays off! Each FIRST Robotics Competition season culminates with district and regional events where qualifying teams compete for awards and a spot at the FIRST Championship. Events at every level offer students an amazing experience as they celebrate their hard work, have fun, make new friendships, and are exposed to ideas and ideology that will enhance their lives for decades to come. Every participant is eligible to apply for college scholarships! FIRST Robotics Competition team members, adult Mentors, and Volunteers all agree – season-ending events (various Regional Event, District Events and FIRST Championship) are the most amazing, inspiring experiences they’ve ever had. Where else can you make new friends, share ideas, solve problems on the fly, compete like crazy, and get pumped up over technology all while having the time of your lives? At FIRST Robotics Competition events, students realize more than ever that FIRST is all about teamwork, sharing, helping others, and respect.