Revenge of the big ‘bots comes to Western

FIRST Robotics Competition, March, 2017

More than 1,000 high school students on 36 teams — along with robots that they have built and programmed — will compete at Western University this weekend in an epic battle that combines sport, engineering, science, and teamwork . The Faculty of Engineering will be host to the inaugural FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) — Western University District Event.

Under strict time limitations, teams from across Ontario and the United States have designed and built 54-kilogram robots that will compete head-to-head on tasks such as collecting fuel, installing gears and climbing structures. Students use their engineering, coding and design skills to program, test and operate their machines.

Many teams will be looking to score big after their recent competitions in Barrie, Oshawa or Toronto as they battle for a spot at the Ontario championships in Mississauga in two weeks. From that competition, top teams will then compete at world championships in St. Louis, Missouri.

“For more than 20 years, FIRST® Robotics has inspired thousands of young people to be STEM leaders and we are excited to be joining this movement by hosting London’s inaugural FIRST® Robotics Competition,” said Andrew Hrymak, Dean of Western Engineering. “This event is part of Western Engineering’s larger outreach strategy assisting youth from both elementary and secondary levels to experience STEM in a positive way.”

Spectators to this free event will be treated to the large-scale excitement of a competition that has been called the “varsity sport of the mind.”

The event is also supported by lead sponsor 3M Canada, which is committed to inspiring the next great leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

WHAT: FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC), featuring 1,000 high schoolers on 36 teams

WHERE: Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre, Western University

WHEN:  Saturday, April 1 to Sunday, April 2, 2017

For more: A complete event schedule is at


MEDIA CONTACT: Joanne Moniz, Outreach Programs Coordinator, Western Engineering, 519-661-2111 x86988,

Alternate media contact: Debora Van Brenk, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85165, or on mobile at 519-318-0657 and

 ABOUT WESTERN: Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

 ABOUT FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology): FIRST® is an international non-profit organization designed to inspire students to pursue further studies and careers in STEM. Students develop skills in problem solving, innovation, leadership and teamwork as well as design, manufacturing, programming and testing. FIRST®’s programs reach 300,000 students in 70 countries. FIRST® Robotics Canada, a Canadian non-profit started in 2002, now reaches 20,000 Canadian students. FIRST® is grateful to its provincial sponsors including Magna International Inc., Microsoft, SYNNEX, the Ontario Ministry of Education, the Argosy Foundation, CenterLine and Scotiabank.