Skip to main content
University of Texas at Austin
University Interscholastic League Logo
University Interscholastic League Logo

Robotics - About FIRST

FIRST® brings the thrill of competitive sports to science and engineering. Working with adult mentors, students apply and extend their classroom knowledge through hands-on, authentic engineering and science challenges.

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative robotics programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM.

FIRST has a proven track record of success with inspiring students in STEM through robotics, teaching engineering and technology skills, as well as teamwork, leadership, communication skills and more. Student participants surveyed report that they are twice as likely to major in science or engineering fields, and 80% express interest in becoming a scientist or engineer.

There are four levels of robotics competition within FIRST, including FIRST® LEGO® League and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr., FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC).

UIL has selected FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) to be part of the UIL robotics program. Schools can have multiple teams. However, because FRC and FTC have different competition rules, technology requirements, etc., one team cannot be both an FRC and an FTC team at the same time. Teams need to choose which program they will participate in.

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Teams of ten students or more are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build/program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Learn more details about FRC at

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is designed for students who want to compete head to head using a sports model. Teams design, build and program their robots to compete on a 12’ x 12’ field, in an alliance format, against other teams. Robots are built from a reusable platform and teams can choose from two programming languages. Teams are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles. Awards are given for the competition, as well as community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. Learn more details about FTC at

About FIRST® in Texas

The FIRST in Texas Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation that supports FIRST robotics teams and events across Texas. FIRST in Texas works closely with US FIRST to disperse hundreds of thousands of dollars in team grants each year, giving Texas students the opportunity to participate in events like the FIRST World Championship and now the UIL State Championship.

Texas currently has the second largest FIRST program in the country with approximately 1,300 teams and 15,000 students in 30 different cities around the state.

FIRST in Texas is a grant recipient of the Texas Workforce Commission since its founding in 2010.

FIRST in Texas partners and supporters include: Texas Workforce Commission, 3M, Dell, Freescale, Intel, NASA, National Instruments, Rackspace, Lockheed Martin, and Goldman Sachs.

For more information on FIRST in Texas Foundation, please visit

UIL Robotics