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About FIRST   


FIRST is More Than Robots    


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international not-for-profit robotics community preparing young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4 - 18. FIRST programs are suitable for schools or structured after-school activities and receive support from a vast network of volunteers, educators and sponsors/donors.


FIRST    Vision


"[The vision of FIRST is] 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

Because our programs are More Than Robots  , FIRST participants are guided by a signature set of Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build and showcase their achievements. Our thrilling, sports-like challenges build students' self confidence and collaborative problem-solving skills and have a proven and lasting impact on STEM learning and interest. Our participants and alumni gain access to education and career discovery opportunities, connections to extensive scholarships and employers, and a place in the FIRST community for life.


FIRST    Australia


FIRST Australia was established at Macquarie University in 2006 by the late Head of Engineering, Professor Mike Heimlich, and his wife Luan. Since then, FIRST Australia has grown to establish a thriving robotics community across the nation, with the University providing financial and resourcing support to grow the suite of robotics outreach programs across all Australian states and territories. Macquarie University is a university of service and engagement and is proud to facilitate the growth of hands-on STEM learning amongst thousands of students, placing special emphasis on reaching under-served sections of the community.

FIRST Philosophies and Core Values

The FIRST Core Values are fundamental to FIRST and unique to its programs. They emphasise friendly sportsmanship, respect for the contributions of others, teamwork, learning and community involvement, and are part of our commitment to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Gracious Professionalism


The term "Gracious Professionalism   ", coined by Dr Woodie Flowers (1943 - 2019), is a key part of the ethos of FIRST. It's a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasises the value of others and respects individuals and the community: with Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. 

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    merges the concepts of cooperation and competition to produce innovation. At FIRST, Coopertition is displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition, and is founded on the concept and philosophy that teams can and should help and cooperate with each other even as they compete. It means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can. 


Core Values

The FIRST community expresses the philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values: 

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas. 

  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems. 

  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world. 

  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences. 

  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together. 

  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

FIRST Global Impact

FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers.

Impact at a Glance 

Over 2.5 million

students impacted in more than 100 countries since 1989.

More than 668,000

students reached globally by FIRST programs during the 2022 - 2023 season.

Over 28 million

hours served by volunteers and educators during the 2022 - 2023 season.

Active FIRST Communities in Australia

The Australian FIRST community extends to all states and territories. Use the map to view regions with active participation in FIRST programs!

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