FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

The 2021 Judging Process

Nov 24, 2020 Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Program Specialist




We hope everyone is getting excited for this very different season. We released information previously about the season’s offerings here. Teams have the opportunity to compete remotely for awards amongst all of our At Home Challenges as well as the traditionally submitted awards. The process will be a little different this year and we wanted to share a little more information about the judging process, so our teams know what to expect.

At Home Challenges

The At Home Challenges are:

  • the Game Design Challenge,
  • the FIRST Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm, and

For each challenge, teams will be divided into groups, regardless of their location, and compete with other teams in that group (e.g. a team from Australia may be in the same group as a team from Michigan). Each group will have approximately 30 teams (range is between 25-35 teams) pending total number of teams participating. If a team is participating in multiple challenges, their group for INFINITE RECHARGE at Home, for example, may not be their group for the Game Design Challenge.

Judging of these challenges is not restricted regionally because we have no history to inform the number of teams that will compete in each challenge, and we want to avoid the possibility of groups ending up so small that awards would not be meaningful. Also, we value the mixing of teams from all over the world as is seen at some Regionals and FIRST Championship.

Additional information about the At Home Challenges will be released at the 2021 Kickoff!

Traditionally Submitted Awards

When we say “traditionally submitted awards” in the context of the 2021 FRC season, we’re talking about the Chairman’s Award, Dean’s List Award, and Woodie Flowers Award. For these awards, teams will be grouped by geographic location, as listed below. Each region will be able to award a specific number of Chairman’s Awards, Dean’s List Awards, and Woodie Flowers Finalist Awards. The exact number of awards for each region, and how that number will be determined, will be announced later.

Region Name

States/Countries included in the Region

Caribbean + South American Region

Brazil and Dominican Republic

Central Asia, Africa, and Europe Region

Afghanistan, India, Lesotho, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Ukraine, and United Kingdoms

China Region


FIRST Chesapeake District

D.C., Maryland, and Virginia

FIRST Indiana District


FIRST Israel District


FIRST in Michigan District


FIRST in Texas District

Texas and New Mexico

FIRST Mid-Atlantic District

Delaware, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania

FIRST North Carolina District

North Carolina

Florida Region


Greater Central Valley Region

California - Central Valley/Northern Central California

Greater Los Angeles Region

California - Orange/Los Angeles/Inland Empire

Greater San Diego Region

California - San Diego

Greater San Francisco Bay Region

California - Greater San Francisco Bay Area/Northern CA Coast

Illinois Region


Mexico Region


Midwestern Plains Region

Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma

MoKan Region

Kansas and Missouri

NE FIRST District

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

New York & Quebec Region

New York and Quebec

Ontario District

Canada - Ontario

Pacific Northwest District

Alaska, Oregon, and Washington

Pacific Region

Australia, Chinese Taipei, Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam

Peachtree District


Rocky Mountain Region

Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Western Canada, and Wyoming

Southeastern Region

Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi

Southern Appalachian Region

Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Southwestern Region

Arizona and Nevada

Turkish Region


Upper Midwest Region

Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Upper Ohio River Region

Ohio, West Virginia, and Western PA

Wisconsin Region


This region-based approach for traditionally submitted awards differs from the approach to the At Home Challenges because we have a history with these awards and believe a sufficient number of teams will submit to keep the awards meaningful, even in the smallest regions. Also, the Chairman's Award and Dean’s List Award are best judged locally among local competitors. 

Within a few weeks of the submission portal closing, Judge Advisors (JAs) will randomly assign participating teams to interview time slots. They will contact teams via email to notify them accordingly (if a team cannot accommodate their assigned slot, they should let the JA know so it can be rescheduled).

Teams can find additional info on the interview process and submission info here!

Virtual Chairman’s Award Chat

At FIRST Championship, we typically host a Chairman’s Award Chat, an opportunity to ask questions from the experts and learn what approach other winning teams take. Due to the remote nature of our season and to allow all teams to be able to attend, we will host a virtual Chairman’s Award Chat on December 3rd, 8pm – 9:30pm ET. This call will feature Chairman’s Award Judges and Hall of Fame representatives (i.e. previous Chairman’s Award Winners, including team members who presented and won the 2019 FIRST Championship Chairman’s Award). Register today!

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Is there a recording of the chat available?

Hi Stephen,

Yes it was recorded and can be found on this page - 

Happy Viewing!

I would like to Volunteer as a Judge for the "New York and Quebec" Regional.  On the volunteer website, they are all listed as New Hampshire (NH).  Are there Dates for the New York and Quebec regional?

Thank You,
Ray Mulgrew

Hi Ray, 
We put together this step-by-step document ( to help volunteers with finding events. You'll notice that in this document we note that the dates and location are made up. Our system requires this information so we had to put it. But Judging will be entirely remote and will occur between March and April. The Judge Advisor will work with you to find times that you are available to judge that also work with other judges and the teams. So it is super flexible!

Hi, I'm in Sydney and I can't see any events for Australia, which is fine. How do we register as a judge for the Pacific region?


Hi Gordon, 
Good question! All events show up as if they were at FIRST HQ so the location filters do not work. We put together this step-by-step document ( to help volunteers with finding events. As Australia is part of the Pacific Region, you will want to use the filters on the left and click FRC and then in the search bar at the bottom type "Pacific", hit search, and the event will come up. Remember, this event is only for the traditional submitted awards (Chairman's & Dean's List). If you want to judge for the other challenges, those are not location specific and the step-by-step document shows you how to find them. 

Thanks - this shows Pacific Northwest District and Pacific Region - yay. Both locations are shown as Manchester, NH as you said. It would be great if you could add some notes about timezones as it's not ideal signing up for something that appears to be in US/East - happy to get up at 7, but not so much at 2 a.m. :-) I know everything's topsy-turvy this year - thanks for all of your efforts.


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