FTC Judging and Awards

Advancement Order:

1. Inspire Award Winner

2. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced

3. Inspire Award 2nd place

4. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced

5. Inspire Award 3rd place

6. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced

7. Think Award Winner

8. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced

9. Connect Award Winner

10. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced

11. Collins UTC Innovate Award Winner

12. Highest Ranked Team not previously advanced

13. Control Award Sponsored by Arm, Inc. Winner

14. Motivate Award Winner

15. Design Award Winner

The remainder of advancement are on Highest Ranked Teams not previously advanced

Inspire Award

Role Model FIRST Team

This judged award is given to the team that best embodies the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The Team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST Team.

  • The Team is a top competitor for many other judged awards

  • This Team shares their experiences, enthusiasm and knowledge with other team, sponsors, their community, and the Judges.

  • The team is an ambassador for FIRST and demonstrate and document their work in their community.

  • The team is positive and inclusive

  • Every Team member contributes

  • The engineering portfolio must include engineering content, team information and a team plan. The entire engineering portfolio must be high quality and well-organized.

  • Robot design is creative and innovative, and the Robot performs reliably on the field. The Team communicates clearly about their Robot design and strategy to the judges.

  • Team interview session is professional and engaging.


The Notebook/Portfolio Award


  • Notebook reflects the journey of the team through the engineering design process during the build season

  • Notebook contains evidence to back up the information presented in the Portfolio

  • Portfolio contains examples of science, math, and game strategies and their application into designing and building a robot

  • Portfolio shows progression through the Engineering Design Process

  • Portfolio has examples of lessons learned both in mechanical and in non-mechanical areas

  • Portfolio is well formatted and easy to read


Outreach within the STEM community

  • This award is given to the team that most connects with their local STEM community

  • This award recognizes the team that shares FIRST, FTC, and their team with their community

  • This award is given to the team that actively seeks and recruits engineers and explores the opportunities available in the world of engineering, science, and technology.

  • Portfolio must include

    • a team plan that outlines goals about improving individual team member skills

    • Summary of how team acquired new mentors or new knowledge and expertise from a mentor

  • Team should provide examples of outreach to STEM professionals to tell them about FIRST, FTC, and the team.


Innovative and functional design

  • Awarded to the team with the most innovative and creative robot design solution to any specific component of the FTC game.

  • Design solution must work consistently (not 100%, but at least 80%)

  • Portfolio must include a summary of the design of the design solution.

  • Portfolio must describe how the team arrived at their solution.

  • Design must be creative, elegant and unique


*Application Required*

Programming, sensors, and automation


  • Given to a team that uses sensors and software to increase robot functionality in the field.

  • Given to the team that demonstrates innovative thinking to solve game challenges.

  • Control components should work consistently in the field.

  • Portfolio contains a summary of the software, sensors, and mechanical control used by the team


  • Use of Advanced software techniques and algorithms

  • Components work reliably

  • Engineering Notebook contains additional detailed information about Control components

  • Lessons learned are documented in the portfolio

This award focuses on a Team’s ability to program a robot that can reliably and efficiently carry out tasks during Match play, in a way that improves their ability to score during a match.

The judges look for:

  • What sensors and hardware the Team is using on the Robot; what worked, what didn’t, and why.

  • What algorithm or code the team has programmed their Robot with; what worked, what didn’t, and why.

The judges should pay attention to the program and design process. The design process is more critical than the code itself.

Teams must fill out and turn in the Control Award submission form to be considered for the Control Award. A Control Award binder or notebook is not an acceptable submission. Additional Control information should be located in the engineering notebook and portfolio.


Outreach outside of the STEM Community

This Team embraces the culture of FIRST and clearly shows what it means to be a team.

  • Portfolio Requirements:

    • Includes team organization plan that describes the team's goals and how they will reach those goals

      • Goals could be: Team Identity, fund-raising goals, sustainability goals, timelines, outreach, finances, and community service/volunteering goals.

  • The team is an ambassador for FIRST programs and markets their team and FIRST to people outside of the STEM community.

  • Everyone on the Team contributes and individual contributions are documented

  • Everyone on the team should take a part in their presentation and engage with the judges.

  • Document lessons learned from outreach


Robot Design and Aesthetic

  • Presented to Teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their robot

  • 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 Robot should be durable, efficiently designed, and effectively address the game challenge.

  • Team must submit an engineering portfolio with an engineering content which could be CAD images or robot drawings of the Team’s overall design and/or components

  • Team also documents and implements strong industrial design principles, striking a balance between form, function, and aesthetics.

  • Basis for the design is well considered (that is inspiration, function, etc.).

  • Robot design is effective and consistent with Team plan and strategy