Posted on the 6th March 2020
Written by Patrice

FAQ: Championship cancellation

Not sure what to do next about the champs? No problem. Find details regarding changes to the national championship, the new virtual tournament and how to recover costs on this FAQ page.


The championship


Why have you cancelled the event?

We have published a statement which you can read here.

Will you hold the event later in the year?

No. Projections issued by the UK government and the World Health Organisation suggest the spread will peak later this year. The charity does not have confidence the situation will improve sufficiently to commit to an event before the end of the academic year. We have made the decision to cancel the championship rather than offer postponement in order to prevent further disappointment and financial exposure to participants.

If the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak lessens will you reinstate the UK championship?

No. Our decision to cancel the UK championship event will not change if the virus lessens. Planning an event of this scale takes many months and demands extensive coordination with schools, partners, volunteers, suppliers and supporters involved. It will only create false hope, continued uncertainty and risk of disappointment to suggest otherwise.

Team arrangements

What does this mean for my team?

We want to recognise and reward teams who have worked tirelessly to compete this season. On Friday 27 March 2020, a virtual event will ensure regional award-winning teams are judged for the prospective national awards, whilst 10 new Judges Awards will be up for grabs by the remaining teams. Prizes awarded to winning teams include bursaries between £500 and £2000 towards supporting STEM activities in their school, as well as Gold Industrial Cadet accreditation.

What shall I do if I have made bookings or reservations?

We would hope that any bookings made are refundable, or that hotels and transport providers show leniency and understanding. It may help to provide suppliers with the Notice of Event Cancellation letter when cancelling reservations. Should suppliers still withhold refunds please contact your organisation’s insurance company providing the same notice.

Can we still have the travel bursary?

Travel bursaries were provided to facilitate travel to the championship. In the unlikely event that refunds are not offered in response to the Notice of Event Cancellation letter and the school’s insurance policy does not provide coverage, the charity may elect to issue the travel bursary of up to £250. Evidence of bookings and the efforts made to recover these costs (including response from suppliers and insurers) must be submitted with any bursary request.

Beyond the virtual event, are there any other plans for the rest of this season?

We are developing social media challenges for teams to participate in which will showcase robotics skills and highlight elements of the programme such as design, communication, outreach, problem-solving and coding.

Can we hire a field to host a mini event?

Yes. We have a number of fields available to loan if your setting would like to host a mini event. Please contact explaining the nature of your event and proposed dates.


Virtual event

What is the virtual event?

The virtual event is an opportunity for teams who would have attended the FIRST Tech Challenge UK Championship to compete for awards in an online format. This is an opportunity to present live to a panel of industry judges, showcase achievements, develop presentation skills and earn awards.

How can my team take part in the virtual event?

The event will run between 09:30 and 13:00, 27 March 2020. With a virtual awards ceremony from 15:30-16:00. Your team will be invited to select a 15-minute judging slot in advance.

How will awards be judged?

All teams will be given a 15-minute judging slot to present to a panel of judges from industry on a live video call. Teams who won regional awards will be rejudged for the same national award. Teams who progressed to the championship and did not win a regional award will be assessed for the Judges Award, of which there are up to 10 available.

Will Engineering Notebooks be assessed?

Yes. Judges will review your engineering notebook when assessing teams for awards. Teams will have the opportunity to submit digital copies of their Engineering Notebook, including supporting material such as videos, photos, websites and blogs.

When will we know who the award winners are?

At 15:30 on Friday 27 March, teams will be invited to join the award announcement webinar, where FIRST UK HQ will reveal the national award winners. For teams unable to join, winners will be published by 17:00 on the FIRST UK website.

What will award winners receive?

National award winners will receive cash bursaries for their school, to be used for STEM enrichment or outreach:


  • Inspire Award Winner – £2000
  • Inspire Award 2nd place – £1500
  • Inspire Award 3rd place – £1000
  • Connect Award Winner – £1000
  • Arm Control Award Winner – £1000
  • Design Award Winner – £1000
  • Collins Aerospace Innovate Award Winner – £1000
  • Motivate Award Winner – £1000
  • Think Award Winner – £1000
  • Judges Award Winners – £500


What does this mean for volunteers?

We’ll be calling on some volunteers to help with the virtual event on 27 March. We’d love your help with reaching more schools, supporting more teams as mentors and coming back to volunteer at our events next season.

World championship

Is the world championship going ahead?

At the time of publishing, the FIRST Championship 2020 is going ahead in Detroit, USA at the start of May. This event is managed by FIRST a separate entity from FIRST UK, the charity that runs the FIRST Tech Challenge programme in the UK and Ireland. FIRST is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in the USA and you can find further information on their website.

Is FIRST UK sending teams to the world championship?

No. Regrettably, FIRST UK has made the decision to not use the places allocated to the UK due to continued uncertainty surrounding international travel and attendance at mass events.

Next season

Can our team take part next season?

Yes. Registration for the 2020-21 season will open in April 2020 and the new challenge will be released in September. The robotics kit is reusable year-on-year and bursaries to expand participation will be available. We’re looking for schools who want to become ‘champions’ in their local hub – email to find out more.

How can we get involved in the future?

The FIRST community is only as strong as we make it. Register a team to take part in season 2020-21, volunteer your skills at our future events, or dedicate your expertise by mentoring a team eager to learn from the best. We need your help to build More Than Robots.

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