FIRST is a non-profit organization that was founded to inspire and excite young people about science and technology by bringing together professional mentors and high school students from around the country. FIRST is an acronym which means “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.


FIRST was founded in 1989 by inventor and visionary Dean Kamen. In the first year, 28 teams participated in one competition that was held in a high school gymnasium in New Hampshire. In 2010, over 1800 teams with 2,300 corporate sponsors competed in over 50 regional and district events culminating with the international Championship event in the U.S. FIRST also sponsors Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League, and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions along with a series of education-related projects and programs.


Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST, imagines a day when the act of invention—the work of scientists, engineers and technologists—is as revered in the popular culture as music, athletics and entertainment are today. The FIRST vision is to inspire in young people, their schools and communities, an appreciation of science and technology and an understanding that mastering these can enrich the lives of all.


Many colleges and universities, professional associations, and corporations offer college scholarships to high school students on FIRST teams. This is official recognition of the knowledge and technical and life skills these students have gained from participating in a FIRST competition.  For 2013, the universities of University of Toronto, York University, and University of Waterloo are offering scholarships toFIRST team members.