FIRST and Qualcomm Incorporated Collaborate on New Innovation Challenge to Ensure All Young People Have a Pathway to Innovation

New global offering available for FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition, the FIRST® Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm will provide teams pathways to innovation and invention learning

FIRST Innovation Challenge logo

MANCHESTER, N.H., December 17, 2020 – Global PreK-12 nonprofit organization FIRST® and world-leading wireless technology innovator Qualcomm Incorporated announced they are collaborating to extend innovation programming through FIRST, preparing the next generation of problem solvers by ensuring all students have a pathway to innovation.

Through the FIRST® Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm, student robotics teams participating in the FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition programs during the 2020-2021 season will have the opportunity to explore what it means to be an innovator and find solutions to society’s greatest challenges. Teams will identify a problem or opportunity in connection with the season’s sports-and-fitness theme, design a solution, create a business model and pitch, and advance their skills by using technology as part of the process.

“We’re thrilled to build on our longstanding strategic partnership with Qualcomm and expand the opportunities FIRST programs offer for students to gain a foundation in innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Larry Cohen, president of FIRST. “FIRST provides the critical inspiration that drives young people to build a better world through technology and innovation. This inspiration comes from the FIRST Core Values, which we share with great partners like Qualcomm. With Qualcomm’s support, this new FIRST Innovation Challenge will allow more FIRST participants to gain the inspiration and skills to create a better future for themselves and their communities.”

Qualcomm has been a proud supporter of FIRST since 2006. As a FIRST Strategic Partner, Qualcomm directly supports FIRST events, programs, and thousands of teams globally via direct funding and time donated by hundreds of employees. In addition to the new FIRST Innovation Challenge sponsorship this season, Qualcomm is the Season Presenting Sponsor for the sixth consecutive FIRST Tech Challenge season, enabling teams to create Android smartphone-controlled robots powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ mobile platform.

“Driving Innovation is at the heart of everything we do,” said Angela Baker, senior director of corporate responsibility at Qualcomm. “Collaborating with organizations like FIRST to expand opportunities for students from all backgrounds to discover and innovate is key to inspiring the next generation of inventors.”

Participating teams in the FIRST Innovation Challenge will explore and develop their confidence and skills in areas critical to innovative industry leaders like Qualcomm, including:

  • Discover the root causes of problems
  • Observing opportunity
  • Research, collecting and analyzing data
  • Functional, efficient, and UX focused design
  • Product/prototype manufacturing
  • The importance and role of intellectual property
  • Business models, pitching, and entrepreneurship

Last season, FIRST programs reached more than 679,000 students in over 100 countries. As a global organization that teaches young people how to solve problems and innovate, FIRST is committed to doing the same to ensure its participants can stay engaged with FIRST programs this season through new and adapted remote programming such as the FIRST Innovation Challenge.

Additional details and requirements for the FIRST Innovation Challenge will be announced during the virtual FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff broadcast, January 9, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. ET on FIRST​tv on Twitch.

Advancing FIRST Tech Challenge (grades 7-12) and FIRST Robotics Competition (grades 9-12) teams will showcase and celebrate their innovative solutions at the 2021 FIRST Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, which will also include qualifying teams from the FIRST LEGO League Challenge (grades 4-8) Innovation Project.

The FIRST Innovation Challenge is part of the 2020-2021 FIRST season, FIRST® GAME CHANGERSSM, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change. Team registration is now open.

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 Incorporated
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.

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated.