FIRST® Announces New 2021-2022 Season: FIRST® FORWARDSM presented by Qualcomm

Robotics Competition Season Inspires Future Workforce to Tackle Transportation Innovation

Qualcomm Incorporated Announced as Presenting Sponsor of FIRST FORWARD in Video Revealing Season Theme


MANCHESTER, NH, May 20, 2021 FIRST®, a robotics community that prepares young people for the future, today announced the upcoming youth robotics season, FIRST® FORWARDSM presented by Qualcomm Incorporated. The 2021-2022 season theme focuses on the future of transportation – empowering FIRST teams around the world to collectively reimagine and solve for faster, reliable, more sustainable transportation innovations, in urban and rural areas alike, worldwide, and beyond.

Transportation is one of the most important global topics for every economy, impacting all people on a global scale. The FIRST FORWARD season was inspired in part by the UN Sustainable Development Goal focused on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation. In the season reveal video released today, Qualcomm was announced as the presenting sponsor of the FIRST FORWARD season. Qualcomm is a Strategic Partner and longtime supporter of FIRST, and has provided generous support for many years in many different ways, from financial support to employee volunteerism, and much more.

“Qualcomm is committed to ensuring youth from all backgrounds have the opportunity to learn the foundational skills that are critical to advancing a strong, competitive pipeline of STEM innovators,” said Susie Armstrong, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated. “For the past 16 years, we’ve been fortunate to have helped grow these FIRST programs and look forward to inspiring even more participants in these essential programs this season. As we enter a new 5G era of connectivity and opportunity, these students will become the drivers of tomorrow’s discoveries.”


“We are proud to partner with Qualcomm to deliver the FIRST FORWARD season,” said Chris Rake, Interim President at FIRST. “Year after year, Qualcomm returns to support FIRST in new and exciting ways that enrich our program offerings and enable greater accessibility of FIRST programs to students all over the world. We are thrilled to introduce the new season, FIRST FORWARD, and can’t wait to see how our participants work together to innovate and revolutionize the future of transportation.”

To introduce the new FIRST FORWARD season, FIRST released a reveal video featuring several FIRST Strategic Partners and industry leaders within the transportation industry. In the video, narrated by visionaries from each company as well as FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research and Development Corporation, Dean Kamen, discuss innovations, trends, and the critical need for transportation innovation. All inferred the need for today’s young people to be aware of the role they have in shaping and innovating what transportation will look like in the future, and more importantly, that they should feel empowered to lead and inform change in this space.

The following industry luminaries can be seen in the FIRST FORWARD reveal video (listed in order of appearance):

  • Dean Kamen
  • Lena Bryant, Director of Worldwide Community Operations, Amazon Logistics
  • Doug Chiang, Executive Creative Director, Lucasfilm
  • Naveed Hussain, Chief Technology Officer, Boeing Research and Technology
  • Anne Morrow Johnson, Executive Producer and Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Cisco Sanchez, Senior IT Vice President and CIO, FedEx Ground
  • Charles Bergan, Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

In addition to the upcoming season theme, FIRST announced the upcoming game names for each program:

  • FIRST® Tech Challenge FREIGHT FRENZYSM presented by Raytheon Technologies
  • FIRST® Robotics Competition RAPID REACTSM presented by The Boeing Company

From the shipment of packages in rural and urban areas, to disaster relief delivery and high-tech space transit, the transportation theme will be pulled through all FIRST program challenges, in which students build robots to complete tasks and create innovative, real world solutions. More details about the FIRST FORWARD season and each FIRST program game will be announced later this year. Learn more at and receive regular updates and latest news by signing up for the FIRST Newsletter.


About FIRST®
FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. An international not-for-profit organization founded by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Boosted by a global support system of mentors, coaches, volunteers, alumni, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, and build robots, then compete and celebrate at local, regional, and international events. High school students are eligible for more than $80 million in college scholarships. Learn more at

About Qualcomm
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G.  When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born.  Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found in every 3G, 4G and 5G smartphone. We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.

Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.