FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Enter the FedEx Innovation Challenge to win big money and prizes!

Jan 24, 2016 Today’s blog post is from a special guest, Jason Baker, from the FedEx Innovation Challenge Team.

Hashtags and robots and prizes – oh my!

The 2016 FedEx Innovation Challenge, an interactive social-media competition, is back and this year will be open to all FRC and FTC teams in the US. The Innovation Challenge takes place from January 9 – February 21, 2016.

Part problem solving, part creative challenge, this fun and engaging competition will consist of math and science problems, scavenger hunt activities, and more. Best of all, it’s super easy to play.

Participating teams are required to submit responses in the form of a photo using either Twitter or Instagram. All responses will be judged on the accuracy of the answer, creativity of the response and the level of team participation and spirit.


  • $5,000 and a VIP experience trip to FIRST Championship
  • $3,000, a roboRIO controller and a Dell Alienware laptop
  • $1,000, a roboRIO controller and a Dell Alienware laptop

All entries are submitted via Instagram and Twitter. #Hashtags, baby!

FedEx has been a proud supporter of FIRST for 15 years, providing free shipping of FIRST Robotics Competition Kits of Parts and robots, and cash support for the Rookie Grant Program.

Get in the game! Check out the rules and details at The challenges will be revealed January 9 at 10:30 AM Eastern.

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I don't understand why this challenge is now restricted to US-based teams. My team (a Canadian Team) won the Challenge in its first year (when it was only at Championships) and there was no such restriction. I understand that when a organization such as NASA sponsors an award or contest that it would be limited to American teams, but FedEx is an international company. This just continues the trend of Canadian teams being left out and not being treated as equal to our American counterparts by FIRST HQ. 

Is there a similar challenge for Canadian teams? Our dollar is so poor right now, it would be great for a Canadian version! Thanks Rebecca

Hi Anthony (and our other friends in Canada & around the world!)

I work for FedEx and help run the Innovation Challenge, and it's one of my absolute favorite things every year.

We've seen wonderful participation in the Innovation Challenge from non-US teams. Team 1305 - Ice Cubed was one of the winners in 2014, and last year Team 5528 - Ultime was an Innovation Challenge winner. Both of those teams won the phase of the Innovation Challenge that takes place at FIRST Championships in St Louis.

We'd love to be able to open the first (Build Season) phase of the Innovation Challenge to all teams around the world, but unfortunately there are international laws and regulations that prohibit companies from running unlimited global contests, or require lots of additional fees and lengthy government approvals.

We know it's not a perfect solution, but as of this season we are only able to provide Innovation Challenge prizes to non-US teams if they are participating in the second phase of the Innovation Challenge at FIRST Championships in St Louis.

Opening the full competition to more international locations is something that we'll look at doing for Innovation Challenges in the future.

Thanks so much for understanding, and we hope that we get to see you at FIRST Championships (and on Twitter and Instagram!)


Do we need to order any special kits to complete the challenge?




No special kits are needed to participate in the FedEx Innovation Challenge. The competition is open to all FTC and FRC teams in the US who are competing in the 2016 FIRST season.

Good luck and most importantly - have FUN!

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