FIRST Tech Challenge Awards

FTC Awards

FIRST Tech Challenge is more than a Robot competition; in addition to Robot matches, Teams are also eligible to win Judged Awards. Choosing Award winners is a difficult task and Judges take the responsibility very seriously. It can take quite some time for the Judges to deliberate, as so many FTC Teams are really great and deserving, and the Judges try to be as fair as possible, but not every Team can win an Award.

Below is a brief introduction to each of the FIRST Tech Challenge Judges Awards. You can read more about the FIRST Tech Challenge Awards and their specific criteria in the FTC Mentor Guide.

 Award Name Award Decription
Inspire Award

The Team that receives this Award is chosen by the Judges as having best represented a ‘role-model‘ FTC Team. This Team is a top contender for all other Judging categories and is a strong competitor on the Playing Field. The Inspire Award Winner is an inspiration to other Teams, acting with Gracious Professionalism™ both on and off the Playing Field. This Team is able to communicate their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge to other Teams, sponsors, and the Judges. Working as a unit, this Team will have demonstrated success in accomplishing the task of creating a working and competitive Robot.

Think Award

This Judged Award is given to the Team that best reflects the “journey” the Team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The Team’s Engineering Notebook should focus on the design and build stage of the Team’s Robot. Journal entries of interest to Judges for this Award will include those describing the underlying science and mathematics of the Robot design and game strategies, the designs, re-designs, successes, and those ‘interesting moments’ when things weren’t going as planned.

Connect Award

A true FIRST Team is more than a sum of its parts, and recognizes that its schools and communities play an essential part to their success. The recipient of this Award is recognized for helping the community understand FIRST, the FTC, and the Team itself. The Team that wins this Award is aggressively seeking engineers and exploring the opportunities available in the world of engineering, science and technology.

Rockwell Collins Innovate Award

The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a Team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life. This Award is given to the Team that has the most innovative and creative Robot design solution to any or all specific Field Elements or components in the FTC game.

PTC Design Award

All successful Robots have innovative design aspects; however, the PTC Design Award is presented to Teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution. These design elements could simplify the Robot’s appearance by giving it a clean look, be decorative in nature, or otherwise express the creativity of the Team. The winning design should not compromise the practical operation of the Robots but complement its purpose. This Award is sponsored by Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), developers of the CAD tools, Creo and Mathcad.


This Judged Award celebrates the Team that exemplifies the essence of the FTC competition through Team building, Team spirit and enthusiasm. They celebrate their Team, their individuality and their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a Team cheer and their outstanding spirit. This Team has also made a collective effort to make FIRST known throughout their school and community.


This Award is given to the Team that demonstrates innovative thinking in the control system to solve game challenges such as autonomous operation, enhancing mechanical systems with intelligent control, or using sensors to achieve better results on the field. The control component should work consistently on the field. The Team’s Engineering Notebook should contain details about the implementation of the software, sensors, and mechanical control.

Promote (OPTIONAL)

This Judged Award is optional and may not be given at all tournaments. The Promote Award is given to the Team that is most successful in creating a compelling video message for the public designed to change our culture and celebrate science, technology, engineering and math. Winning videos will be submitted to FIRST and used to promote the higher values of the FTC. Teams may win the Promote Award only once at a Championship level event and only once at a qualifying level event. Team must submit a one-minute long public service announcement (PSA) video one full week prior to the event to be eligible for this Award. The submission process for this Award may vary by tournament.

Compass (OPTIONAL)

The Compass Award recognizes an adult Coach or Mentor who has provided outstanding guidance and support for a Team throughout the year. An FTC Team is about more than building Robots, and competing at tournaments, it is a journey to a destination through trial and error, success and failure, with challenging new technology and obstacles to navigate where no road maps are provided. The winner of the Compass Award will be determined from candidates nominated by FTC Team members, via a 40-60 second video submission, highlighting how their Mentor has helped them become a champion Team.

Judges Award (OPTIONAL)

During the course of the competition, the Judging panel may encounter a Team whose unique efforts, performance or dynamics merit recognition, yet doesn’t fit into any of the existing Award categories. To recognize these unique Teams, FIRST offers a customizable Judges Award. The Judging panel may select a Team to be honored, as well as the name of the Judges Award.